While drilling of new gas wells in the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays has fallen recently, industry experts expect renewed activity over many years once prices rebound. To help drilling communities and the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia get the response to drilling right in the future, the Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative (MSSRC) today released two documents: Lessons from the Gas Patch: A Local Government Guide for Dealing with Drilling; and A Report Card on Shale Gas Policies in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, which grades three states on nine fiscal, social and economic policies related to fracking.
The MSSRC is a project of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, the West Virginia Center for Budget and Policy, and Policy Matters Ohio.
“A lull in the intensity of drilling provides an opportunity for local and state government to digest what has been learned from the 2007-12 drilling boom that caught most people by surprise,” said Jan Jarrett, a PBPC consultant who coordinated the publication of both documents. “Local governments are on the front lines of helping quiet rural communities manage the influx of workers, trucks, and activity that come along with unconventional gas drilling. State governments set the boundaries within which local governments respond and also have more authority in some areas. Taken together, these two documents present best practices to help communities and states learn from each other and from past experience.”
Lessons from the Gas Patch distills lessons for local communities from MSSRC case studies on four drilling counties (two in PA, one each in WV and OH) and from statistical analysis on the social impacts of fracking in drilling-intensive counties.
The Report Card grades state policies in nine areas such as whether the state has effective policies for growing in-state Shale jobs, mitigating the boom-bust character of extraction, ensuring supplies of affordable housing, taxing the shale industry, and tracking health impacts. The report card does not address environmental impacts. All states get at least one F but any state would achieve a solid report card if it adopted in each area the policies of the state with the highest grade. Achieving the “honor roll” would require lifting some grades above those currently received by any of the three states.Read more by clicking here. You can view the reports by clicking here and here.
The MSSRC claims to be non-partisan and independent, but it has been pointed out by some that the organization is funded by anti-drilling groups such as the Park Foundation and counts among its leadership a former president and CEO of the anti-drilling group Penn Future.
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