Shale Gas

Shale Gas

Shale gas has considerable economic significance, along with equal potential for irreparable damage to the natural resources of our Commonwealth.

The development of natural gas from shale formations is one of the most complicated and critical environmental issues that Pennsylvania has ever faced. While shale gas has considerable economic significance, there is equal potential for irreparable damage to the natural resources of our Commonwealth.

PEC is arguably the strongest and most consistent voice in Pennsylvania for robust and actionable regulation of the shale gas industry. Our body of work — reports, testimony, and advocacy on regulation and legislation — reflects our resolute position on proactive oversight. We have pushed for mandatory setbacks, greater planning, public disclosure, groundwater protections, controls on waste and wastewater, public health research, stronger bonding and fines, and greater enforcement.

It is imperative to ensure that shale gas development does not proceed as so many extractive industries in Pennsylvania have over the last 200 years; the Commonwealth continues to deal with the costs and impacts of this legacy every day.

While it holds the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our state, shale gas will not be the final turning point in our energy future. We still must look today toward energy conservation, efficiency, and, most importantly for PEC, changing the generation mix to low-impact sources to get us to the energy future we must all achieve.


Policy Posts

Update on Senate Bill 790 – PEC Remains Opposed

January 17, 2020

Senate Bill 790, which PEC has opposed in the current legislative session, was amended in the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee this week to remove one problematic provision relating to road spreading of produced brine water. However, the remainder...

Taking Concrete Action on Methane Emissions

Taking Concrete Action on Methane Emissions

December 17, 2019

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today presented a draft rule to cut emissions of methane to the state’s Environmental Quality Board (EQB), kickstarting a rulemaking process that seeks to address climate impacts from the natural gas industry. The...

PEC Letter on SB790

September 23, 2019

PEC and the Environmental Defense Fund submitted the following letter to the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, expressing our concerns with Senate Bill 790.

Testimony: PEC Climate Policy Recommendations

May 1, 2019

Testimony of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council John Walliser, Senior Vice President, Legal & Government Affairs   Chairman Tomlinson, Chairman Boscola, Chairman Yaw, Chairman Yudichak, and members of both Committees: I want to thank you for inviting us to comment on...

PEC Letter on House Bill 828

March 24, 2019

PEC submitted the following comments on House Bill 828 (P.N. 929), which will be considered by the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee on March 26, 2019.

Statement on Shell Support of Methane Rules

March 12, 2019

Royal Dutch Shell is an important producer in Pennsylvania and has set a strong standard for industry leadership. The Pennsylvania Environmental Council applauds Shell for opposing the rollback of the EPA methane rule and supporting stronger regulation for new and...

PEC Letter to PA Senate on HB 2154

September 25, 2018

PEC, in partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund, submitted the following letter to the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee in opposition to House Bill 2154, which would weaken environmental protection standards applied to the conventional oil and gas industry.

PEC Opposes HB 2154

PEC Opposes HB 2154

April 30, 2018

PEC and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) have sent the following joint statement to House members in opposition to House Bill 2154, weakening environmental protections in relation to oil and gas production.     April 30, 2018 To: Members of the...

PEC-EDF Letter Opposing Rollback of Act 13 Standards

PEC-EDF Letter Opposing Rollback of Act 13 Standards

April 11, 2018

PEC and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) have sent the following joint statement to Senate Environmental Resources & Energy Committee members in opposition to Senate Bill 1088, concerning environmental protection and performance standards for the conventional oil and gas industry.  ...

PEC Letter to Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee

January 29, 2018

PEC submitted the following comments to the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, which will have a voting meeting tomorrow (January 30, 2018) for several bills. January 29, 2018 To:  Members of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Re:  Senate...

PEC Applauds DEP Permitting Modernization Effort

PEC Applauds DEP Permitting Modernization Effort

January 26, 2018

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council commends Governor Wolf and the Department of Environmental Protection for their efforts to improve Department performance with respect to environmental protection and responsiveness to the regulated community. Today’s announcement that the Governor will seek to add...

Letter: Don’t Trade Environmental Protections for Severance Tax

Letter: Don’t Trade Environmental Protections for Severance Tax

November 21, 2017

This letter was sent to all members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on Tuesday, November 21st. Dear Representatives: Last night the House amended House Bill 1401 to include a number of provisions that unreasonably roll back environmental protections in...

What’s New

Pennsylvania Legacies #118
PEC Blog

Pennsylvania Legacies #118

March 24, 2020By: Josh Raulerson

As investors grow wary of fossil fuels and big companies prioritize sustainability, where will Pennsylvania fit in the post-carbon economy? Analysis from Steven Clarke and Alli Gold-Roberts of Ceres, a nonprofit that advocates for clean energy in the business community....

Within Reach
PEC Blog

Within Reach

February 10, 2020By: Pennsylvania Environmental Council

First, the bad news: oil and gas facilities are emitting huge volumes of methane – the primary component of natural gas – into the atmosphere. The climate impact of those emissions is many times greater than that of carbon dioxide,...

PEC in the News

PA Legislators Call for Strong Methane Rules

September 18, 2019Public News Service

HARRISBURG, Pa. – State senators and representatives from both major parties joined environmental groups in Harrisburg on Tuesday in urging Gov. Tom Wolf to move immediately on new rules to cut methane emissions in the Commonwealth. Methane is a powerful...

Pennsylvania Legacies #98
PEC Blog

Pennsylvania Legacies #98

May 17, 2019By: Josh Raulerson

As Ben Franklin wrote, “when the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.” But how do you calculate the value of water resources in dollars and cents? Researcher Spencer Phillips, Ph.D., unpacks the far-reaching economic impacts of water quality...