Two recent letters (“Middlesex Shortfall”, Dec. 1 and “Still Opposed to Rex”, Dec. 9) do a tremendous disservice to your readers, which include my Butler County neighbors, family and friends.
Our dialogue about these important issues must be fact- and science-based — and it must be civil.
Pennsylvania has an effective and modernized regulatory framework that ensures shale development protects our environment and communities. The State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations — a national independent nonprofit organization — has touted Pennsylvania’s strong regulations.
For example, compared to other energy producing states, Pennsylvania’s setback restrictions of 300 to 1,000 feet from water sources are of the nation’s strictest. And the industry remains committed to these tighter regulations, despite the state Supreme Court overturning them.
Contrary to the letters’ claims, Middlesex Township’s approval of tightly-regulated natural gas development followed a rigorous process based on wide-ranging public comment, and multiple adjudicating bodies have determined that the ordinance is legally valid. Further, Pennsylvania’s setback regulations coupled with Middlesex’s ordinance allow development on less than 25 percent of the land in the township, demonstrating the sound judgment of the township officials.
Finally, your readers should know that Pittsburgh-based Magee-Women’s Research Institute and Foundation distanced itself from a study referenced by one of the anti-natural gas activists’ letters, stating that the findings “do not support a conclusion that the proximity to natural gas wells caused reduced birth weights.” Specifically, the study identifies birth weights ranging from 3,323.1 grams to 3,370.4 grams as low, despite the clear fact that they’re well above the universally accepted low birth weight definition of 2,500 grams as defined by the National Institutes of Health.
Responsibly producing local and abundant natural gas is improving our environment, generating economic activity, and creating meaningful energy cost-savings for families and small businesses.
Let’s put the misinformation aside and stick to the facts.