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New Report: In the Shadow of the Marcellus Boom

Natural gas companies are flooding into Pennsylvania in the 21st century equivalent of a gold rush – staking claim on vast deposits of gas trapped in an underground rock formation called the Marcellus Shale.

To reach the gas inside the shale, gas companies are employing techniques called horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. The process involves drilling a deep well into the ground vertically, turning the drill bit horizontally into the Marcellus Shale rock formation, injecting a solution of sand and chemicals to fracture the rock and extract the gas trapped within, and then processing and shipping the gas to market.

Frontier Group’s new report, In the Shadow of the Marcellus Boom, written in partnership with PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center, documents the risks surrounding gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale. The report also evaluates how rapidly the gas boom is expanding, and examines how close permitted well sites are to day care facilities, schools and hospitals – where the most vulnerable Pennsylvanians, including children and the sick, spend a great deal of time.

With industry projecting as many as 50,000 new wells in the next two decades, gas extraction is likely to become an even closer part of the lives of Pennsylvanians across the state. As the drilling boom proceeds, the public and decision-makers should understand the risks and take appropriate action to protect people and the environment from harm.

The report included several new features, including an interactive online map with details on the locations of permitted well sites, day care facilities, schools and hospitals.

Thus far, the report has been covered in about 100 media outlets, including Pittsburgh’s flagship NPR station, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and Forbes Magazine (through the Associated Press).

Frontier Group would like to thank everyone involved in making this report a success.