Marcellus shale drilling discussed at Murrysville meeting

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Murrysville residents were warned about the potential negative aspects of drilling for natural gas during Wednesday evening's public information/council meeting.

Educators and residents who have been affected by the drilling were on hand to speak with Murrysville's municipal council and citizens to discuss the impact of Marcellus shale gas drilling.

"We feel that it is our obligation to give you all the information that is out there from an environmental, community and health standpoint," said council President Joan Kearns. "As you know, this is an ongoing process and you should have all the information, both good and bad, that is out there."

In early April, representatives from Range Resources hosted a three-hour public hearing regarding a potential Marcellus shale drilling site located near the intersection of Saltsburg and Logan's Ferry roads.

As a result of the hearing, Murrysville council decided to host multiple public information sessions that will enable the community to educate themselves regarding the Marcellus shale issue.

"It is the mother lode when it comes to natural gas," said Dr. John Stoltz, professor of environmental microbiology at Duquesne University.

Dr. Stoltz challenged a Penn State University report that states drilling into the shale will create a job boom in the region. Most workers on these sites come from states such as Texas, Louisiana and Colorado.

He also added drilling often leads to contamination of water resources.

"They use millions of gallons of water mixed with sand and other chemicals to coax the gas from the rock," Dr. Stoltz said.

Dorothy Bassett, dean of Duquesne University's School of Leadership and Professional Advancement, said it was not their intent to cast the drilling process and the energy companies looking to profit off the Marcellus shale in a dark light.

"We want to put this into context and allow you to make a well-educated decision," she said.

Ms. Kearns said additional discussions about Marcellus shale drilling will be scheduled in the near future.

David Whipkey, freelance writer: .


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