Monday, January 28, 2013

Mayor Ravenstahl Promotes Shale Drilling Industry, Finds Environmentalists Dishonest & Hateful.

Sorry, it's not hyperbole, it's a plain fact. Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl is immoderate in that he loves industry and hates environmentalists -- finding them ignorant, dishonest and wearisome. Listen to this 13-minute talk given by Mayor Luke in late 2012, explicit and in unimpeachable context:

(For the record, most political leaders actually seem to relish politics -- whether that means working hard finding consensus among passionate parties, or else throwing in eagerly on one side and deftly rebuking criticism. They love the game itself, and sometimes the nobility of the democratic experiment on which it is founded. Of course, Post-Gazette columnist Brian O'Neill began wondering last month whether Ravenstahl is atypical in that he doesn't seem to like his job, which indeed he sometimes performs as though somebody is holding a knife to his favorite kitten.)

Mayor Ravenstahl makes few points to the assembled natural gas industry stakeholders, the most oft-repeated being that we need to embrace the opportunity of the Marcellus Shale -- embrace the benefit, embrace the jobs, embrace the supply chain, embrace the residential growth, embrace the commercial growth, embrace the embrace. Okay, fine.

Therefore Ravenstahl came to the energy summit to show the industry that "we need to educate those folks" in politics who are leery of opposition from environmentalists -- "the meetings, the yelling and the screaming." He says that "we need to be honest with ourselves about the opportunity" represented by natural gas drilling, instead of  focusing on "politics." Obviously a secondary reason he took part in the summit was to garner political recognition from a cash-rich industry, but apparently he does not recognize how that counts on the scales as "politics."

Interestingly, Ravenstahl maintains that "we hear over and over again" about the negative impacts of natural gas drilling -- but "not so much, from my perspective about the good it can do" regarding jobs and economic growth. I find myself wishing I lived on his street; it truly does seem to be peacefully secluded from the rest of the world.

So Luke Ravenstahl's pro-drilling position is honest rational policy, whereas those who disagree with him are political, dishonest, self-serving and ignorant. At least this is consistent with his other positions on public matters: "Why do you have to be so political and unfortunate?"


Do not be misled by the moment around 01:35 when the Mayor alludes briefly to an "other extreme" which says "drill baby drill" and does not think about "ramifications." It passed quickly. Ravenstahl had a golden opportunity here to strike a balanced approach and expand on those "ramifications," providing the industry with assertive cautions about the need to fund oversight and enforcement, to allow for some local control of zoning and land use, or to fund and pay attention to the results of continued environmental impact research. It never remotely came up.

Ravenstahl's strategy is to embrace the benefits of drilling now, and trust the industry to voluntarily improve whatever it is that might need improvement later and without political insistence. One could call this "backwards", but the point here is only that Ravenstahl is no plain-spoken moderate in the middle -- he is deftly providing cover for one side, the industry's side.

And PLEASE!!!, do not be unduly distracted and sent snark-hunting amidst the weeds of a debate over the legality of the present citywide outright ban versus an alternative of replacing it with exclusionary zoning law. It is true that mayoral candidate Bill Peduto has recently underscored his commitment to the outright ban as necessary municipal activism against a state not doing its job protecting its communities. And it is true that mayoral candidate Michael Lamb prefers the less outwardly defiant, more subtle form of protection of exclusionary zoning. The debate over which is better is fascinating, with neither having a monopoly of being "right" or unquestionably constitutional absent a legal challenge.

Ravenstahl favors neither the ban on the books nor the zoning legislation on the table. Ravenstahl's concern is to tarnish both efforts as political, dishonest and ignorant. Ravenstahl's concern is to be an industry activist and to embrace the industry.

It is often suggested that the power to regulate oil and mineral extraction such as in the Marcellus Shale formation is naturally and properly a commonwealth issue -- so it is the State Legislature's job to protect us. Very good. How then can Pennsylvania ever be expected to "do its job" if leaders of great population and knowledge centers are shilling for the industry, taking money, and disparaging environmentalists?

Occasionally Mayor Ravenstahl uses environmentalist sentiment as a sweetener to win a subsidy or other support for a "green building", that is, new construction. That's fine. And he will accept grant money that is available to do a small-scale environmental demonstration project once in a while. Also nice and easy. But in the end, like civic design and principled opposition, environmentalism is just one of those things this mayor does not "get".

Pittsburgh deserves that that should be well understood.


  1. Would you say that HizzonerLuke's Embrace of Industry is FrackShale specific, or just a bias in favor of the well-funded?

    By which I mean, do you think he favors Developers over Environmentalists to the degree to which he favors Frackers over Environmentalists?

    Can this be the Burgh version of Pirates vs Ninjas or Alien vs Predator, Who Does Luke Embrace More Versus Environmentalists?

  2. Vannevar - Clearly you're on to something. I guess the bigger the industry, the warmer the embrace and the harder the stiff-arm to the opponents.

  3. Discussion question: Do you think any of the assembling drilling execs witnessing this performance came away thinking, "Now, here's a politician that can convey our message and break the impasses moving forward"? The moderator tried to tease a little of that asking "how" and "what can we do" out of him, but do you think they were heartened or informed by their ally?

  4. Quite simply, Ravenstahl is Pittsburgh's first Republican mayor since the 1930s--a product of the Reagan Revolution, born in 1980. His parents signed him up as a Democrat and he just forgot to change his registration.

  5. Ravenstahl is of the D party. Just as Tom Murphy was of the D party.

    Once you mess with the language, then you end all hope of coming to a solution with our words.

    Ds need to figure out if they want to nominate Luke as the leader of the city's D party or not.

    Tom Murphy got the nod for 3 terms.

    Furthermore, if Luke wins, again, and the Ds stay put, not facing the facts, then who is living the lie.

    Luke is a "D." Own it. Realize it.

  6. "then you end all hope of coming to a solution with our words."

    ... Huh?

    I guess I'm down with not "living the lie"...

  7. Yeah? That is one reason why I am voting for Ravenstahl. He understands business and lets it flourish unlike Peduto who would drive all business out of the City. Seriously Bram, are you on Luke's payroll? You are making the case on why to re-elect him. Besides, Ravenstahl's stance on gas drilling is pretty much in line with a certain man named Barack Obama. Seems like Luke is right in line with the Democratic leadership and Bill is on the fringe. I'm seriously at a loss on your point with this.

  8. Real Democrats don't support natural gas or Marcellus drilling. President Obama is not a real Democrat. Also, Rich Fitzgerald is not a real Democrat. And, also, Governor Rendell is not and never was a real Democrat.

  9. Jeez - i'm really confused. I guess the entire democratic party is full of fake democrats. Are there any real democrats in the republican party? Where do I find them?

  10. There are divisions within the Democratic party, most noticeably at the level of electeds. This is known, and is a strength of the party. However Ravenstahl's blithe tone-deafness, and lack of activism elsewhere surrounding the complex issue (ahem, local control?) should be clear. Who knows, maybe Pittsburgh Dems agree with him. But don't perpetrate like he's some kind of poor caught-in-the-middle centrist doe -- he's a drillmeister, signed sealed and delivered. Let's work off of that.

  11. As words and language fails us then fists and worse prevail.

  12. This entire discussion is ridiculous. It doesn't make economic sense to frack in the city, because the amount of real estate fracking requires could be put to much more profitable and less risky uses inside the city of Pittsburgh, such as building a shopping plaza or housing development. Fracking only makes economic sense where land is sold at farm like prices, and that's no where in the city of Pittsburgh's jurisdiction. The debate about fracking in Pittsburgh city limits is all bluster.

  13. Besides, Ravenstahl's stance on gas drilling is pretty much in line with a certain man named Barack Obama.

    Obama supports allowing drilling in urban areas and not allowing municipalities to control drilling?

  14. Do'Peduto probably listens to Doogie Shields when he need info
    On fracking. Doogie, an acolyte of snake oil salesman Josh Fox
    Of Gasland notoriety, is looking for a J.O.B. unfortunately as long as
    Obummer is the Prez JOB's are hard to come by!!! Frack Folks for your Future !!

  15. Jes - I actually don't believe I ever mentioned fracking in the city (although Mayor Luke assured us early on that he was preparing to deal with any possible well fires) and I dissuaded people from getting caught up in that whole sideshow. Rather, this is about a mayor portraying one side of an important statewide debate as ignorant, dishonest, hateful and political, and providing political support for a state and an industry disinclined to do any due diligence protecting anybody. So to what "entire discussion" are you referring?

    1. Is the industry really disinclined to do due diligence to protect people? Large natural gas drillers actually have pretty clear incentives to protectpeople given the relatively long active life of the projects, and the fact that requiring sych safeguards eliminate " wildcat" companies whom have less constraints than the big boys, and thus are more likely to engage in risky behavior.

      In term of Luke, policy-wise, there isnt much meaningful action.he can take supporting or against large industry players, although it is possible said "wildcaters" may try city drilling, hence the need for city zoning restrictions. I realize he doesn't advocate for it, and is there evidence he opposes such zoning changes.

      Given the lack of policy actions possible, then it becomes a question of rhetoric. State wide polls show the Pa residents overwhelming support fracking, while simultaneously they are concerned with the willingness of public officials to effrctively regulate the process ( regulation that must happen at state and federal levels).

      In terms of safety, and team.of cmu undergrad and grad students, led by 4 professors including a nobel prize winner, researched the impact of Marcellus, and saw that when proper procedures were followed ( which large industry players have a large incentive to do) the risks are minimal. The real environmental risk, they concluded, was the long term maintenance of drill sites.
      While Luke doesn't discuss the need for statewide regulation ( though he doesnt oppose it) I think if point about the debate, both locally and nationally, not being fact driven I think is valid.
      I am really curious to hear your perspective about what he specifically said that was unreasonable is this statement? While Luke is clearly not on the center in this issue, nothing in this statement seems to indicate he is particularly extreme on this issue.

  16. Hello pghgradstudent1,

    Would you be willing to read these two articles and then let me know what you think? I need to do some more data-driven research on this topic myself, so if you post link(s) you think would be useful I'll read them carefully.

    Insiders Sound an Alarm Amid a Natural Gas Rush



  17. Not enough facts in the debate, eh? Spoken like a true grad student and aspiring post-doc, fishing for "requires further study" funding! Far you will go going forward in academia, young grasshopper! ;~>

    Ja wohl, !

    Stay tuned for video of Drillmeister von Ravenstahl's fracking remarks from Sunday's mayoral forum, which took place on the fringes of Council District 5, home to Lincoln Place, a bucolic, almost backwoods neighborhood of former city farms and acres and acres of coal-seamed woodland that has been targeted for fracking.

    Finally, I was almost tempted to respond to Mark R.'s political labeling complaints, and then I remembered that he's a Libertarian and decided, "What's the point?"

  18. @Bram:

    Here's a question for you:

    Under the original Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Law ("OLG"), the power of municipalities to invoke their local zoning authority was minimized to their powers under the state's Flood Plain Management Act ("FPMA") and some limits, upheld by the Court in Huntley v. Borough of Oakmont, to a municipalities' delegated authority under the Municipalities' Planning Code ("MPC").

    Here's the catch: The Commonwealth's two largest cities, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, are not subject to the MPC, so, at least statutorily, under the OGL, cannot use their home-rule powers of land-use control to regulate any aspect of drilling, other than that authority provided all municipalities under the FPMA.

    What struck me as odd during the firefight over Act 13, and I was in Harrisburg when the General Assembly passed it last year, was that NONE of the environmental advocates fighting against passage of the Act raised this issue.

    This is especially disturbing when you consider the fact that the Commonwealth Court, in ruling on the challenge of Act 13 by the municipalities, only enjoined the sections of Act 13 that nullified local land-use controls, leaving the rest of the Act in place.

    Speaking of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, where the appeal is currently sitting, a deadlocked Court will likely affirm the Commonwealth Court ruling, which will effectively re-open the door to local zoning restrictions on drilling. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia will still be left on shaky ground because of their exclusion from the MPC.

    There are those who wish to excoriate the Mayor for his stance(s) relative to this issue. They have that right.

    I take issue with the opponents who seem to have tunnel vision and consistently fail to, even as they try to stop something they are rightly opposed to, work to ensure that there are SOME protections in place in the event that those efforts fail.

    The political reality is that drilling will remain legal and we will have to invoke our land-use controls to provide any protections.

    That just isn't responsible leadership by the anti-frackers. That isn't sound governance (from a group of people who would have us believe they should be governing)

    The truth is, even while drilling opponents are screaming at the rain to retain local zoning control, none of them, NOT ONE, bothered to mention this as a problem.

    The same drilling opponents excoriated Patrick Dowd for saying essentially, “Hey, we need to put regulations in place in case the Court does allow drilling and does return local zoning control.”

    So what is their fallback in the event that drilling remains legal?

    So, I’d like to see a rational critique of the opponents of drilling every bit as exhaustive as the one I read of the Mayor.

  19. Watch Frack Nation and you ll see that Helen, the rolling stone, Nytimes, and josh Fox are all extremists intent on making you
    pay high prices for cash intensive energy sources like wind and solar.

  20. @Anonymous 11:17am - did you read those articles? The sources from the NY Times were from within the industry. Primary sources. From the gas horses' own mouths.


    Great points and info. Don't have time for the exhaustive critique, but appreciate what seems to be highly reasonable support for Dowd's initiatives to lay proactive groundwork for more zoning control by local government before Act 13 ruling.

  21. Shawn Carter - I agree that the environmentalist movement would be better served making many more of themselves expert land use attorneys, though I suppose of the poorly paid and deeply in debt variety. Back when the Assembly was debating Act 13, the implications for Cities of the 2nd Class regarding the MPC were surely the height of trivium compared to more fundamental issues.

    And I agree Dowd didn't deserve to be excoriated -- in fact I went out there and defended him, and got excoriated myself -- though as I implied, I have reservations whether EXCLUSIONARY zoning enjoys even the slightest legal advantage over a ban. When state law must protect you, and does not protect you, you must content yourself with mediocre legal strategies until state law is fixed. Let's pick one, let's pick them all.

    Sure, opponents of drilling aren't super effective. There is not nearly as much money in opposing drilling as there is in selling fossil fuels, so anti-drilling efforts will suffer by comparison on multiple levels. But this blog isn't primarily about picking on them. This blog is about politicians and the directions THEY marshal their considerable resources to advance in.

    I'll take anybody who organized resources to oppose the overreaches of Act 13 and provided a City clamoring for protection (you heard those phones ring! and your boss voted for the ban, right?) with some shaky legal protections, and leadership, and a seat at the table, and further efforts against Act 13... over anybody who will not deign to engage the argument "how best should we try to protect folks," will not engage any argument of "ban vs. zoning", but will advocate for "Frack Now, Protect Later" and who provides pro-active, on-stage political aid for the statewide industry which wrote (and passed) the law we're both decrying, somebody who says it is important that we ignore environmentalists rather than help them be more effective.

    Yes, I believe that's not even a contest.

  22. And when you write, "They have that right", Shawn, I take it to mean, "They are justified to a degree I cannot argue with them."

    I respect you immensely for not coming here to argue personally that jobs, growth and corporate headquarters justify the Mayor's shilling for rapid industry expansion absent legal reform, a well-funded safety and enforcement regime, further R&D and an industry-standard extraction tax to fund cleanup.

  23. @Bram:

    Nice try. I was pointing out that people have the right to their opinions.

    But they don't have the right to their own facts. I have and will continue to criticize those who, while I share their concerns about the negative impacts associated with Marcellus Shale, refuse to be realistic in their focus on how to protect the very things they profess to be protecting.

    I've said it often that if I had the authority to make the decision unilaterally, I'd ban it completely until technology found a way to extract it without damaging current or future water supplies and the cost per milli-cubic-foot was high enough that many, many more people could benefit financially from the harvest.

    Some of those who support the "ban it even if banning it is illegal", knowing damn well we can't stop it entirely remind me eerily of our friends on the right who swear that if public schools only taught abstinence-only sex-ed that people would wait until marriage to have sex. Yes, it's just that irrational.

    Since you're determined to see me defend our Mayor, I will oblige:

    1. Show me where the Mayor stated that he was opposed to regulating drilling within our borders through zoning?

    You keep mentioning that the Mayor, through his spokeswoman, stated that the City was, at that time, putting together emergency management plans in the event of a drilling-related catastrophe.

    So, if we know a total ban is illegal and unconstitutional, isn't it only responsible to prepare for the possibilities? Is the yardstick by which we judge "good government" a refusal to deal with facts and probabilities?

    You'll probably retort that the Mayor is an avid defender of the industry. I'm going to answer, "So what if he is?"

    The City will absolutely put zoning regulations in place, just as soon as the people you're defending wake up and accept the reality that they may be right, and history may well prove them right, but if we can't stop drilling outright, the citizens deserve for their public officials to do what they can legally to provide as much protection as possible.

    Hearing a bunch of very smart, forward thinking people essentially say "F+(# the Constitution" is disturbing to me because today it's for this cause. Next time, it will be more morally "questionable."

  24. @Shawn-

    "I was pointing out that people have the right to their opinions."

    Oh. Good.

    Sorry if you feel I'm having too much fun at your expense; it's not every day I sense that you're on the ropes. But I sincerely don't understand how somebody who so clearly understands the dangers to irreplaceable regional assets and to future generations, can be more upset at an outspoken advocate for the need now to apply brakes on the industry (although whose municipal land-use strategy you find less constitutional than that of EXCLUSIONARY ZONING) than at the person blithely ignoring present environmental concerns and urging his municipal neighbors to please start drilling away, a lot and quickly, we need the extra economic growth just that badly.

    Oh, and I honestly don't mind that 2 yrs ago the mayor was plainly anticipating the possibility of drilling in the City. It's good to learn new things over time, I know I do. Not an issue.

  25. @Helen

    I enjoyed both articles. On the NYTIMES article, it made some very valid points: historically energy booms have over-promised and under-delivered, so it is quite possible this one will do the same. The environmental concerns discussed therein ( the long term remediation of fracking related waste) are more of an economic cost than an environmental cost, because currently there are processes for remediation they just aren't always cost effective.

    The rolling stone article I was a bit less impressed with, but again, it was primarily focused on the potential economic benefit which there is some debate on.

    Fundamentally, while environmental accidents are possible, the risks are mostly in the long term after the drillers abandon the wells.

    @ All

    My personally have a perspective fairly aligned with Bram's; that aggressive regulation of the industry along with an impact tax of some sort should be implemented.

    Unfortunately, I do think the discussion is usually between drilling bans and unfettered drilling access. I think the mayor is rightly pointing that out, that discussions on the nature of regulation are rarely put to the forefront.

    It would not surprise me if the mayor has a different view on regulation than me. But, in watching the video, I did not hear him say ANYTHING contradicting the position that there should be greater industry regulation.

    Was regulation his focus? No, not in the least. But nothing I heard him say precluded that as a legitimate option that he may at some point endorse. So to me, its confusing how this speech shows the mayor to be an unabashed supporter of fracking. I honestly don't know enough about his position on this issue, and he may have made other statements on the matter that differ. But NOTHING I saw IN THIS VIDEO is inconsistent with the viewpoint of requiring increased regulation and additional revenue for remediation. If any of you saw something that was, I would appreciate it if you could point it out.

  26. PghGradStudent1 - To my way of thinking, urging us to embrace the industry, go after those jobs, ancillary development, growth, skyscrapers, hyperbolic opportunity etc., while declining within the same several thousand breaths to mention cautions and regulation, means he's not interested in cautions and regulation. I also have not heard or read him elsewhere speaking of the need for local control, better regulation, more equitable taxation etc. I grant you his tone was one of conciliation here but his position on the issue from all I've yet seen has actually been one-sided. Happy to receive links which indicate otherwise.


  28. Shawn, in response to that link: Did the Mayor work on any "common-sense safeguards" for the two years it was an issue? Seems like that dastardly political Councilman Dowd was the only one who got to work. The industry also talks vaguely about "common sense safeguards". Did Ravenstahl ever declare support for Dowd's legislation? Because that would merit a minor correction to the post.

  29. Shawn Carter/Rev Rick still not taking meetings with residents in his office. Also, how many jobs does dripping in gold Rev need?

  30. Dear people that like to read articles and watch documentaries. Can someone please find one real live person that has been harmed by frack water? I love all these articles about all these bad things, but no one ever produces a real person. Meanwhile, we have literally been fracking and drilling in this Commonwealth for over 100 years. The only difference now is the depth to which we can now drill. I love the stories about the water and all the chemicals. The vast majority of those chemicals are naturally occurring in every body of water in the world. The issue becomes when levels are too high. Pretty much every water authority in the state tests the water every single day and has been doing so for decades. If the water supply gets poisoned that will all be on record and public record. Don't think for a second that if there was actual evidence of water supply being poisoned the environmental groups and plaintiff lawyers wouldn't be all over it and plastering in every paper in town.

  31. Here are 804... some seem to have lawyers and be in papers.

  32. I'm curious to see if Anon who requested one example of harm from fracking water might yet show the strength of character and intellectual honesty to acknowledge the value of such information to our considerations. I'll respect you most seriously if you do.

  33. If that is the same Anon that asked for examples of harm from fracking, please explain how the date of that news in any way undermines its continued relevance to current decision making?

    If that's not the same Anon, what's your point? Are you suggesting, as I surely thought, that there might in fact be rising numbers of persons harmed since that report as fracking has proceeded apace since 2011?

    There are other medical research professionals exploring these questions of health impacts, including the increased levels and severity of asthma associated with high levels of ozone produced by fracking:

    Medical Records Could Yield Answers On Fracking
    May 16, 2012

    Pittsburgh is already ranked the fourth worst city in the U.S. for asthma:

  34. If Pgh is 4th in asthma it must be all neurotic driven. I grew up in the 60's, I had 50 kids in my class in 8th grade and not one of us had asthma.
    It musta been the mills on second Avenue that kept us healthy!!!

  35. @ Anon 2:30 PM

    Whoah, the good old days! How lucky for you! But these bad new days, I guess neurosis actually kills!

    From the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America:


    Each day 9 Americans die from asthma. There are more than 3,300 deaths due to asthma each year, many of which are avoidable with proper treatment and care. In addition, asthma is indicated as “contributing factor” for nearly 7,000 other deaths each year. [14]

    Since 1980 asthma death rates overall have increased more than 50% among all genders, age groups and ethnic groups. The death rate for children under 19 years old has increased by nearly 80% percent since 1980. [15]

    More females die of asthma than males, and women account for nearly 65% of asthma deaths overall. [16]

  36. Left out an important stat of the bad new days from the same site:

    African Americans are three times more likely to die from asthma. African American Women have the highest asthma mortality rate of all groups, more than 2.5 times higher than Caucasian women. [17]

    And from a Trib article earlier this month:

    Allegheny County's infant mortality rate for black children younger than 1 was among the nation's highest at 20.7 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2009, the latest statistics available.
    That is more than five times the 3.9 deaths per thousand among white babies here, and slightly above the 20.09 rate the Central Intelligence Agency reported for infants in the Third World nation of Libya.

    Read more:
    Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

  37. Anon Jan 29 8:38 pm - In addition to the 804 recorded instances of harm listed by the PA Alliance for Clean Water and Air I mentioned above, instances of ground water contamination in New Mexico from large scale drilling operations are available at Fractracker.

    Although hydraulic fracturing has been occurring for about 60 years, the scale is now far, far greater, and is being conducted in all new geographies and geologies. I am advised that now "there is karst to consider, dormant faults, and historical mining and drilling activity that can also act as conduits for methane and frac water migration."

    See also this link for a specific list of suspected drinking water contamination sites.

  38. I am late to this discussion, I see, but there are some points remaining to be made.

    The question of putting rules and regulations into the "do and do not" (behavior) portion of the City Code or into the "zoning" portion is well exercised, on many issues. For instance, lighting: in one portion it can say that you can't shine your house light into people's windows all night, but also you must follow the zoning regulations on lighting. Enforcement is by two different parts of the Public Safety Department - one is Police, the other is Building Inspection.

    In this instance, we could have two ordinances - the outright ban, and one in Zoning. I do not think the zoning ordinance that rests in limbo is particularly strong in achieving what residents think it should achieve. It more or less describes what is acceptable behavior when drilling or fracking.

    Meanwhile, residents are envisioning rules such as "don't frack within three miles of a residentially zoned area" or "fracking may not be done within a mile of the river banks," or "frack water must be removed to hermetically sealed holding tanks and neutralized over a period of fifty years, and no part of it may be dumped in any area in the City."

    Moreover, we should be allying the 130 municipalities in the County in terms of watching their borders - one municipality must not frack and dump the results into the other, either by land or water. That would take either County legislation or a lot of agreements among municipalities.

  39. Shawn, shouldn't you be working for your district and constituents instead of posting comments on a political blog during the work day?

  40. Anon 3:30 - Is it also bad to read a newspaper at work, or make a phone call? This is a policy post, we're talking fracking and land use.

  41. RAND study: Estimation of regional air-quality damages from Marcellus Shale natural gas extraction in Pennsylvania

    This letter provides a first-order estimate of conventional air pollutant emissions, and the
    monetary value of the associated environmental and health damages, from the extraction of
    unconventional shale gas in Pennsylvania. Region-wide estimated damages ranged from $7.2
    to $32 million dollars for 2011.

  42. I really wish another fracking science / fracking dangers skeptic would hop on here, to let us know if we've successfully pounded them into submission.