Drilling, Fracking and The Economy

A preview of a three-part series to air February 27, 28 and 29 on WTAP.

We've all heard a lot of discussion, both pro and con, particularly in the past couple of years, about drilling in the Marcellus Shale.  This week, you'll hear more.

I have been working on a three-part series which will air February 27, 28 and 29, called "The Shale Sale: Boom or Bust For The Valley".

It is something for which I have tried to get insights from people on all sides of the issue, and add some facts as well.

But it also is an issue in which all those parties feel very strongly about their views.  That was summed up well by an article last fall by the Associated Press, which began this way:

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Some insist Marcellus Shale natural gas is a huge economic boom for America, while others are certain it's an environmental catastrophe. Gas drilling from the Marcellus pollutes groundwater, or it never pollutes groundwater. It's cleaner than coal or oil, except that it's dirty. It provides a boost to hard-hit rural economies; but then again, maybe it doesn't. The one point of agreement? Scientists say advocates on both sides increasingly spin every shred of research to fit their own views, and ignore the bigger picture.

To do this series, I spoke to people who, in the past few years, have had gas drilling take place, almost literally, "in their back yard".  I have also interviewed people from the gas and oil industry, about both the economic promise of drilling, and about how the industry has addressed safety and environmental concerns.  And, when the regular legislative session began in early January, I spoke to lawmakers who worked to craft laws addressing the concerns of both sides.

Wood, Washington and most of Pleasants County have not largely been affected by this wave of drilling yet. But I am told there are applications pending for people considering leasing their properties to drilling companies.  The "dos and dont's" of that are addressed in this series as well.

It is possible people on all sides of this issue won't agree with some, or perhaps all, of the comments made in this series. But I believe I have done my best to let those comments stand, and let the audience as a whole decide who's right or wrong. And I have tried to do so in a way that is informational, rather than emotional.

The main part of the series will air on WTAP News at 6, although additional segments will air on FOX Parkersburg News at 10, and on WTAP News at 11.  The entire series will also eventually appear on our web channel, wtap.com.


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