has helped produce about 240,000 jobs, bolstered business for towns with wells and has enough regulations to ensure its safety as a natural resource.
Those were some of the benefits that a geologist gave Friday night in her discussion about the "responsible development of shale" before members of the Lehigh Valley Tea Party.
"It's definitely got a far-reaching impact," said Jennifer Huha, professional geologist and site operations manager for Groundwater and Environmental Services Inc. (GES)
She was the guest speaker at the Tea Party's monthly meeting at the Charles Chrin Community Center in Palmer Township.
Pennsylvania's emerging Marcellus Shale natural gas industry has been the subject on much debate and controversy in terms of what its drilling, fracking, does to the environment.
Huha discussed that extraction process of developing the Marcellus Shale, saying that the Marcellus Shale Coalition, established in 2008, tries to "industrialize shale in a safe and responsible way."
Huha said the shale industry began taking off in 2008 and that it was focused on northeastern Pennsylvania, in counties like Susquehanna, Sullivan and Wayne.
But now the focus has moved toward Pittsburgh, where she said there was plenty of wet gas -- shale that also includes liquid raw materials that can be used for paint, plastics and fertilizers.
She said that while dry gas helps provide heat and fuel for businesses, the wet gas offers lots of additional benefits.
Another concern is how methane, which makes up 74.2 percent of natural gas, is regulated. Huha said there are numerous regulations on air quality and that all drilling permits must be approved in advance.
In terms of shale drilling, Huha said that leases must be secured first from landowners and that the mineral rights must be obtained. She said that triple case wells are mandatory, cases of cement and steel that help protect the drill from seaping into the aquifer.
Hydraulic fracking has been the main way drilling is taking place these days, making up 90 percent of the shale drilling.
Huha said the Rural Pennsylvania study last year concluded that pre-drilling is based on sampling, that fracking has no impact on the water supply, the shale formation is very dry and that site restoration is emphasized so land disturbance is minimized.
The job benefits are big for Pennsylvania too, she said.
The shale industry has:
- 239,000 employees
- $80,328 average wages
- Seven in 10 hires are from Pennsylvania
- Influx of people coming into towns, buying or renting houses, filling restaurants, stores.
About the Lehigh Valley Project 9-12/Tea Party Group: Founded in the spring of 2009, the Lehigh Valley Project 9-12/Tea Party Group is an educational, not-for-profit, non-partisan organization focused on teaching members and citizens about constitutionally limited government and many of the important issues of the day. Among these are taxes, immigration reform, health care, the Second Amendment, individual rights, energy policy and more. The group also sponsors live forums where the public can meet, hear and question candidates. For more information go to the website at www.lvtp.org.