Public Perceptions of Shale Gas Extraction and Hydraulic Fracturing in New York and Pennsylvania
Issues in Energy and Environmental Policy, No. 14, September 2014
18 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2015
Date Written: September 30, 2014
The Marcellus Shale play in the northeastern corner of the United States holds one of the most robust deposits of natural gas in North America. Stretching from Virginia and West Virginia northward to central New York State, the Marcellus Shale deposit contains an estimated 141 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. While the deposit is a unified geographic feature, it lies beneath numerous political jurisdictions, including at least some portion of nine states and one Canadian province. With little federal intervention in the regulation of natural gas extraction from shale due to oil and gas industry exemptions in various statutes, state governments retain a primary role in deciding whether or not drilling occurs and, if so, what regulatory and taxation policies are adopted.
This situation has created striking differences in the policy approaches that states have adopted toward energy policy throughout the Marcellus Shale region and around the United States. But perhaps the most extreme example of policy variation among neighbors exists along both sides of the 306-mile border that separates the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of New York. This state border, which intersects the heart of the Marcellus Shale play, reflects a divide between one of the most active settings for natural gas exploration in the United States and a counterpart where the shale play remains largely untouched. In some places along the border New York residents can look south across the state line and see Pennsylvania drill sites engaged in the process of releasing natural gas from the same shale formation that sits beneath their own property. While this reflects fundamental differences in how state government officials have approached this common resource in the two states, both of these governing regimes continue to face considerable controversy.
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