New Commission Gathers Citizen Input on Gas Drilling
A new commission launching this week will allow Pennsylvania citizens to voice opinions, positive and negative, about Marcellus Shale drilling through a series of hearings across the state.
A new commission launching this week will give the citizens of Pennsylvania an opportunity to tell their side of the story about Marcellus Shale drilling, according to a release.
Former state Representatives Carole Rubley and Dan Surra will co-chair the Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission, which will hold hearings across Pennsylvania to gather citizen perspectives, and produce a final report for policymakers.
The first of five hearings will commence Wednesday.
"Marcellus Shale development will have a huge impact on our Commonwealth and it is critical that we get it right," Surra said in a statement. "This commission will give citizens an opportunity to add their voice and bring some necessary balance to this critical debate.
"The commission will give the people of Pennsylvania an opportunity to weigh in on this important issue," Rubley said in a statement. "Their input should inform state policies to ensure gas drilling is conducted in a responsible manner."
The citizens commission was formed by eight leading civic and environmental organizations to give Pennsylvanians living with drilling in their backyard a place to speak out and recommend action, according to a release.
Earlier this year, Gov. Tom Corbett's Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, heavy with industry representatives, produced a report and recommendations on shale drilling.
The commission is intended to supplement that work and delve deeper into a variety of issues, including water and air quality, social impacts of gas drilling, the drilling tax and impacts outside Marcellus communities, according to a release.
"The Governor's commission told part of the story," Thomas Au, of the Sierra Club—Pennsylvania Chapter, said in a statement. "The citizens of Pennsylvania have a different story to tell."
The commission will hold five hearings across the state in August and September—each one from 6 to 9 p.m., with the first hour reserved for expert testimony and the remaining two for public input.
In early October, the commission will produce a report documenting the opinions and concerns of citizens to be delivered to Gov. Corbett and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
The schedule is as follows:
- Today, Aug. 31, South Fayette Middle School, 3640 Old Oakdale Road
- Sept. 6, The Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, Pa.
- Sept. 13, Lycoming College, Academic Center on Mulberry Street, Room D001, Lower Level, Williamsport, Pa.
- Sept. 14, Wysox Volunteer Fire Company, P.O. Box 2, Lake Road, Wysox, Pa.
- Week of Sept. 18, Harrisburg, Pa. (Details TBA)
Citizens can sign up to participate at these hearings on the commission's website at http://citizensmarcellusshale.com, or by calling Stephanie Frank at 717-255-7181.
The Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission was formed by eight civic and environmental organizations in Pennsylvania to assess the impacts, both positive and negative, of natural gas (Marcellus Shale) drilling, and to identify the steps needed to ensure drilling occurs in a responsible manner.