New Commission to Gather Citizen input on Marcellus Shale Drilling

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A new commission will convene this week giving the citizens of Pennsylvania an opportunity to tell their side of the story about drilling in the Marcellus Shale.

Eight civic and environmental organizations have teamed up to launch the Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission. Chaired by former state Representatives Carole Rubley and Dan Surra, the commission will hold hearings across the state to gather citizen perspectives on the Marcellus Shale and produce a final report for policymakers by early October.

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, the social impacts of gas drilling, a natural gas drilling tax, and the impacts of drilling outside Marcellus communities.

Hearings get under way Wednesday at the South Fayette Middle School in Southwestern Pennsylvania (more details here). More hearings are planned for September in Philadelphia, Northeastern Pennsylvania and Harrisburg. Check out the full schedule and come out to make your voice heard. Or submit your comments online.

As commission co-chair Dan Surra put it in a press release announcing the Commission: "Marcellus Shale development will have a huge impact on our Commonwealth and it is critical that we get it right. This commission will give citizens an opportunity to add their voice and bring some necessary balance to this critical debate.” That public input, adds co-chair Carole Rubley, "should inform state policies to ensure gas drilling is conducted in a responsible manner."

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