Skip to Content

News & Resources

Debate over “fracking” continues as public awaits Supreme Court decision

2/5/2013 | Real Estate Blog

Our readers may be aware of the challenge currently before the state Supreme Court regarding natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania. The decision involves the legality of Act 13, which has become controversial for several of its provisions. Perhaps the most controversial provision of the law is that which removes the ability of local zoning boards to make any decisions about drilling.

Environmentalists have spoken out against the law, saying that pollution-not only from wells, but also from traffic, noise, and light-is another issue. Concerns over radioactivity have led state environmental regulators to conduct a study looking at naturally occurring radioactivity associated with oil and natural gas development, which activists have raised as a threat posed by drilling into the Marcellus Shale.

Some environmentalists have said that the natural radioactive material contained in deep bedrock may contaminate drilling wastes, streams even natural gas. The peer-reviewed study, according to the Department of Environmental Protection, will examine radioactivity levels in liquid and solid wastes from drilling, as well as how the materials are transported, stored and disposed.

According to the Department of Environmental Protection, radioactivity data in wastes in regularly reviewed. The goal is, according to the agency, to ensure that radioactivity levels-which are currently known to be safe for workers and the public-continue to remain safe.

The fact that the study is only being initiated now has sparked some criticism from some environmentalists, who say that the study should have been done prior to drilling thousands of more wells and passing a state law making drilling virtually ubiquitous throughout the state.

Source: CBS Local, “Debate Over Fracking Continues In Pennsylvania,” John Ostapkavich, February 2, 2013