Conservation groups debate gas drilling ties in Pa.
As a natural gas drilling boom sweeps Pennsylvania and other states, conservation groups are debating whether it makes sense to work with the industry to minimize impacts to the environment — and whether to accept industry donations.
The big question is “how to deal with this overwhelming impact,” said Phil Wallis, executive director of the Pennsylvania chapter of the Audubon Society, adding the industry “in general, is interested in resolving these issues.”
The drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has made it possible to tap into deep reserves but has raised concerns about pollution.
Thousands of wells have been drilled across Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio, and hundreds of miles of pipeline have been laid to transport gas to market.
Environmental groups and some scientists say there hasn't been enough research on water and air pollution issues that stem from drilling.
The industry and many federal and state officials say the practice is safe when done properly.
Sitting down with people in the industry makes sense, said Mark Brownstein, the chief counsel for the energy program at the Environmental Defense Fund.
“If environmental groups who are both passionate and knowledgeable fail to engage the natural gas industry, who will?” Brownstein asked. “If we simply sit and protest, we're missing an opportunity” to create stronger regulations.
The Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania owns or has easements to about 500 acres of land in the region, and drilling company representatives have approached it numerous times, according to executive director Jim Bonner.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.