Welcome to the Marcellus Drilling Resource Page

gas drilling operation near Dimock, PA

Courtesy Jeff Schmidt


Pennsylvania Needs Protection from Gas Shale Drilling!

The Marcellus drilling boom swept across Pennsylvania before our state government was prepared to handle this. It has imposed a heavy costs on our state environment: from air pollution due to hydrocarbon emissions; pipelines deface our forests and natural areas, drilling pads and wastewater pits scarring our landscapes; heavy rigs damaging our roads; billions of gallons of water taken from our streams with the potential to dry them up; and operational errors contaminating our land and water and air.

Pennsylvania communities are affected as well, people being killed and injured from accidents, communities and towns having to pay for additional services such as training and equipment necessary for emergency personnel to deal with fires, toxic spills. Towns are also involved in costly legal battles to make companies comply with regulations and zoning. All these expenses are occurring which communities have to absorb in a time of economic downturn!

The state was not prepared for the onslaught. As a result, thousands of permits were issued before the problems you read about in the newspapers were revealed. The problems included:

1. A gas well explosion in Clearfield County, which led DEP to impose requirements on operation of blow out preventers.[1]

2. The contamination of drinking water wells in Dimock and in other counties due to poor casing and cementing of the wells. [2]

3. The gas explosion where two workers were killed in Explosion near Pittsburgh. [3]

4. Fracking spills which have ruined Pennsylvania Streams.[4]

5. The lack of wastewater infrastructure to treat wastewater.[5]

6. The Pennsylvania State Police finding that 40% of trucks serving the Marcellus industry had safety violations; and the destruction of rural roads by heavy trucks.[6]

7. Pennsylvania DEP issued 1435 violations in 2.5 Years; 952 were identified as likely to harm the environment.[7]

8. The quarantine of cattle after a mixture of fresh water and wastewater leaked from an impoundment pit.[8]

9. The spilling of 12,000 gallons of synthetic drilling mud spilled in Sproul State Forest.[9]

10. Numerous fish kills from Marcellus Shale Drilling, like the one that occurred in Cross Creek Park in Washington County.[10]

This is just the tip of the iceberg to the numerous problems and issues which face Pennsylvania because of natural gas drilling.


If We Can't Protect Our Communities And Natural Resources, Then We Should Not Drill!


Pennsylvania needs strong regulation and government oversight that will make drilling safe.

The Sierra Club Demands the Pennsylvania Legislature to intact the following:

1. A moratorium on any and a hold on any current permits until state government enacts laws and regulations to make Marcellus gas well drilling safe and environmentally sound.

2. Reform the Oil and Gas Act to require mandatory inspections, require disclosure of fracking chemicals, to extend the presumption of pollution, to require adequate bonds, and to protect municipal zoning and police powers.

3. No more gas leases on public lands in Pennsylvania until a full cumulative analysis can be conducted on the impact of existing leasing of public lands

4. Enact a severance tax comparable to other states and provide for funding for communities impacted by gas drilling and for environmental conservation

5. Block efforts to compel unwilling landowners into a “forced pooling” arrangement. These laws only benefit the gas companies.

Unless the Pennsylvania legislature acts now, Pennsylvania will suffer reckless environmental degradation, loss of drinking water, destruction of our precious state and national forests, increased air pollution, increased exposure of toxic chemicals used in the drilling process and from the inherent toxics chemicals in natural gas and the loss of the quality of life and liberty of all. Pennsylvania needs proven assurance their irreplaceable water sources will remain clean and safe to drink long after the gas has been extracted.


How you can help

Sign up here to get involved

Join the Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling team

Join the Pennsylvania Chapter Conservation Team

Join the Sierra club’s Hydrofracking Team

Six Simple Steps Anyone Can Take to Make Marcellus Shale Gas Safer

1.  Join the Sierra Club, if you are not already a member.  Please provide your contact information and email address. https://tioga.sierraclub.org/joinorgive/member5.htm

2.  Write to Gov. Corbett to express your concern about the lack of comprehensive environmental protection and safety rules to correct gas drilling problems, citing a recent news article about an environmental accident. Follow this link for the contact form:  http://www.tomcorbettforgovernor.com/contact/

3.  Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper on one of the Marcellus issues to express your concern about what is happening and what should be done. Our Marcellus resource page has additional information about natural gas drilling and information which may be useful for reference in writing your letter.

4.  Write your state Senator and Representative reminding them that they failed to enact a natural gas severance tax as promised, and as a result, the state faces a bigger budget shortfall than anticipated.
Pennsylvania Senate: http://www.pasen.gov/index.cfm 
Pennsylvania House: http://www.house.state.pa.us/index.cfm

5.  Ask your Sierra Club group to start monitoring water quality in streams threatened by new drilling. (Call your group conservation chair for more info)  Or join a local watershed or fishing group to monitoring team.  Or organize a water team of your own, with the help of ALLARM at Dickinson College, 717-245-1135. If you don’t yet know your Sierra Club Group, follow the link below and click your county on the map.  This will lead you to your regional Group territory and to group contacts.  http://pennsylvania.sierraclub.org/PA_Chapter_2008/group-meetings-and-outings.html

6.  See the movie GASLAND (DVD available Dec. 14); organize a GASLAND house party.  Use it as an opportunity to meet other activists. To order a copy of the DVD or to check screenings, follow the link below. http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/screenings/


Other ways to help

Help close the “Halliburton loophole"
Congress, in 2005, exempted hydraulic Fracturing from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act The Frack Act closes this loophole. Click here to support closing of this loophole with the Frac Act


Other useful blogs and links

Widener University Law School's Citizens' Guide to Marcellus Shale Legal Issues.

Michael Brune Sierra Club Executive Director’s Blog “Frack Attack”

Read up on the ProPublica’s series called “Buried Secrets” Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat

Damascus citizens for responsibility

Marcellus Protest.org

Hydraulic fracturing myths and facts From Earthworks

Pennsylvania Department Environmental Protection’s of list of chemicals used by hydrofracturing companies

Fracking chemicals: Just how harmful can 1 percent be?

Marcellus Shale Drillers in Pennsylvania Amass 1435 Violations in 2.5 Years - 952 Identified as Most Likely to Harm the environment

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Marcellus Shale site

www.marcellus-shale.us Dedicated to providing photos, facts, opinions, stories and news about the Marcellus Shale gas play that you won't see other places.



[1]. Long, By Mark. "Blowout Occurs at Pennsylvania Gas Well - WSJ.com." Business News & Financial News - The Wall Street Journal - WSJ.com. Web. 27 Aug. 2010.

[2.] "Frack Fluid Spill in Dimock Contaminates Stream, Killing Fish." ProPublica. Web. 27 Aug. 2010.

[3]. Mandak, By Joe. "Ksl.com – 2 Killed in Explosion near Pittsburgh-area Well." Ksl.com – Utah News, Sports, Weather and Classifieds. Web. 27 Aug. 2010.

[4]. "Fracking Fluid Spill in Pennsylvania Contaminates Stream, Killing Fish | Ecopolitology." Ecopolitology - Politics of Energy and the Environment. Web. 27 Aug. 2010.

[5]. "Deep Shale Gas Wells: So Much Wastewater, So Little Treatment Capacity." Allegheny Front - Environmental Radio for Western Pennyslvania. Web. 27 Aug. 2010.

[6]. "State Enforcement Blitz Focuses on Trucks Hauling Drilling Waste Water." Web. 27 Aug. 2010.

[7]. "Marcellus Shale Gas Drillers Committed 1,435 Violations in 2.5 Years, Report Says | PennLive.com." Central PA Local News, Breaking News, Sports & Weather - PennLive.com. Web. 27 Aug. 2010.

[8]. "Natural Gas Well Leak Results in Contaminated Water and Cattle Quarantine | Food | AlterNet." Home | AlterNet. Web. 27 Aug. 2010.

[9]. "Spill in State Forest Moves Gas Drilling Moratorium Debate - News - The Times-Tribune." Scranton News, Sports, Obituaries, and Shopping | Thetimes-tribune.com | The Times-Tribune. Web. 27 Aug. 2010.

[10]. "Waste from Marcellus Shale Drilling in Cross Creek Park Kills Fish." Post-Gazette.com. Web. 27 Aug. 2010.


Updated November 2010