A new commission launching this week will give the citizens of Pennsylvania an opportunity to tell their side of the story about drilling in the Marcellus Shale.
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 on the Marcellus Shale and produce a final report for policymakers. The first of five hearings will take place Wednesday in Southwestern Pennsylvania (see full schedule of hearings below).
“Marcellus Shale development will have a huge impact on our Commonwealth and it is critical that we get it right,” Surra said. “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,” said Rubley. “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.
Earlier this year, Governor Tom Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, heavy with industry representatives, produced a report and recommendations on shale drilling. The Citizens 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.
“The Governor’s commission told part of the story,” said Thomas Au, Conservation Chair for the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Sierra Club. “The citizens of Pennsylvania have a different story to tell.”
The Commission will hold five hearings across Pennsylvania in August and September. Each hearing will be held from 6-9 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 Governor Corbett and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.