Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Critical Facts: Support For Gas Drilling Highest Where It Takes Place and Pittsburgh Region Supports Gas Drilling Nearly 2-1

A critical fact that has been lost in the sea of ink used to report on gas development is that gas drilling enjoys its strongest support, where it is taking place, and engenders the most opposition where it is not being done.
That fact is confirmed again by The Pittsburgh Regional Quality of Life Survey with a large sample.

For example, support for gas drilling is stronger in Pennsylvania than in New York, where a moratorium continues, and where most polling shows support for drilling exceeds opposition by about 5 points.
In turn, support for gas drilling within Pennsylvania is stronger in those counties, where it is taking place, than  where it is not.  The fact that support for gas drilling is highest in places where gas development is located is important but rarely makes it into the discussion about gas development.

After 4 years of extensive gas development, gas drilling was supported 45-25 in the Pittsburgh region that was defined as 32 counties in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and Maryland. And gas drilling was most strongly supported in counties around the City of Pittsburgh where it is concentrated, while support was weakest in the City, where no gas drilling is taking place.

No matter what polling says about public opinion, a major challenge remains maximizing the benefits and minimizing the costs of gas production for Pennsylvania and the country. More can and must be done to do both. And doing so will increase public acceptance of gas drilling across the Commonwealth and the nation.


  1. These results are very interesting and pokes more than a few holes in the narrative that hydraulic fracturing results in an industrialized wasteland where the water is toxic and the air is poisoned. Those w/ firsthand knowledge of the benefits and consequences of fracking support it the most. While those most vocal agitprops in opposition reside in communities that have yet to see this resource utilized. I am speaking of the well organized New York opposition to fracking.

    There is indeed much to be learned here....

  2. Great thoughts, as always. There's an additional subset, however, among those who live where gas activity is taking place. This subset includes residents who experience industrial gas compressor stations and processing facilities built within a few hundred feet of their homes.

    I happen to be one and have read/heard about many in similar circumstances who have problems with noise, odors and other issues these facilities have brought to our homes.

    The industry touts the temporary inconvenience of drilling. However no one is talking about the permanence of loud,odorous industrial compressor stations that are an integral part of gas development. And until one shows up next to you, most people are not aware of these facilities.

    Act 13 as it was passed allows these industrial facilies to be built within 750 feet of homes, which is unconscionable. The industry has done a poor job of sound mitigation, siting, and community relations for many of these facilities. Even those of us who do support gas development are hard-pressed to give a ringing endorsement to the industry when a compressor station becomes the new neighbor and you find yourself being treated as collateral damage by the industry.

  3. Concerned ScientistNovember 26, 2012 at 8:42 AM

    A very good post but I am also very interested in what Anonymous says. I have heard this before. I think more could be done from a regulatory standpoint on these compressor stations. It isn't right. Anonymous, what would you suggest would be a better set back distance? Is there more that could be done from a soundproofing standpoint? is there quieter machinery that could be used in the first place?