PHILADELPHIA — The Marcellus Shale Coalition is attempting to answer all questions about natural gas development in southeastern Pennsylvania.
The industry organization fielded hundreds of questions from residents of the five-county area that includes about a third of Pennsylvania's population.
Officials are concerned residents on the east side of Pennsylvania may not know much about the Marcellus Shale development at the other end of the state. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter expressed his concerns about protecting the region's water supply.
Coalition President Kathryn Klaber said the industry is up to the challenge of addressing Nutter's concerns.
All questions about shale gas development are being addressed on the association's new website, learnaboutshale.com. The site was unveiled Friday at the coalition's Shale Gas Insight 2012 conference.
“This site will be the hub of a sustained commitment to provide straightforward education and outreach, grounded in the facts, for a variety of grass-roots and civic audiences,” said coalition Chairman David Spigelmyer, who is vice president of government affairs for Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy Corp., which is operating in the Marcellus Shale.
He said answers are “facts, sound science and comprehensive research” by a set of stakeholders that include producers, academics and government officials.
“While so many appear to be stuck in making a public scene and twisting the facts to fill an agenda, we're working hard to be transparent in our operations and answer the questions about our work with the facts and science behind our industry,” Spigelmyer said, alluding to the protesters blocking the entrance to the Pennsylvania Conference Center on Friday. “It's the kind of responsible dialogue that this region, and all of the consumers in the region, expect and deserve.”
The questions — such as “How safe is fracking?” and “How much water is recycled?” — were gathered throughout the Philadelphia area during a series of listening sessions and civic events.
“By simply listening to all residents, consumers, families, small businesses and influencers alike, we were able to more clearly understand the unique perspectives of this region,” Spigelmyer said.
Coalition treasurer Scott Roy, who is vice president of government and regulatory affairs at Range Resources, said he hopes the effort looks and sounds different from what other industries have done.
“There are concerns associated with our industry. All of those concerns are legitimate, meaning they all need to be addressed,” he said. “That's what we've attempted to put together here.”