The Shale Game

    From a natural gas boom town to a staunchly resistant community, WHYY’s Kerry Grens, Susan Phillips and the NewsWorks team bring you to the places where the debate and the development of the natural gas industry are taking shape in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale.


    Update: Reporters Susan Phillps and Scott Detrow continue to follow developments on this story in Pennsylvania. Their reports can be found on NPR’s StateImpact site.



    The Shale Game Part 1: County vs. County

    Kerry Grens and Susan Phillips – September 27, 2010 Susan Phillips and Kerry Grens take you to two counties in northeastern Pennsylvania that have reacted to gas drilling in drastically different ways.

    The Shale Game Part 2: Water

    Natural gas has been trapped deep below the surface of Pennsylvania for eons. But only in the past two years has the industry begun in earnest to tap the rich gas reserves of the Marcellus Shale — a layer of rock thousands of feet down that runs from New York to West Virginia. Gas companies sunk nine hundred wells into the Pennsylvania Marcellus this year. With this new area in play, residents have a lot of questions. The most frequently asked: what will be the impact on their water. In part two of our series The Shale Game, WHYY’s health and science reporter Kerry Grens searches for the answer.

    The Shale Game Part 3: Jobs

    Pennsylvania’s natural gas rush has environmentalists and residents worried about contaminated drinking water wells, increased truck traffic, exploding well heads and potentially toxic spills. But the counterpoint all along has been jobs, jobs, jobs.

    The Shale Game Part 4: Social services

    Thousands of people have flooded rural areas to work for drilling companies — but with more people comes greater need for public services, and an economic burden on some communities.

    The Shale Game Part 5: Regulatory issues

    Who watches over industry? In this final piece of our series on the Marcellus Shale, WHYY’s Susan Phillips reports on how regulators are struggling with policing the gas rush.

    Is air quality the next big worry over natural gas drilling? Patrick Cobbs, September 29,2010

    Some fresh water disappears down a hole in ‘fracking’ Patrick Cobbs, September 29,2010

    More information:

    Inside the Shale See how the drilling and fracking process works, get up close to a well pad, view drilling activity in Pennsylvania and see the location of shale deposits across the United States.

    History of the shale A look back on the formation of the Marcellus Shale gas play, and the development of the gas industry in Pennsylvania

    Natural gas glossaryAn explanation of terms and policies surrounding the Marcellus Shale gas drilling industry.

    Company profiles Who’s drilling in the Marcellus Shale? Here are a few of the most active companies.

    Radio Times Kerry Grens and Susan Phillips joined Marty in the studio to discuss “The Shale Game,” their series of reports running all this week on WHYY-FM and at Tuesday, September 28, 2010 Listen online

    Active marcellus shale wells in Pennsylvania. Click on a point to view information about individual wells. [Source: PA DEP]

    Continuing coverage:

    Maryland attorney general to sue driller over Pa. fracking leak Susan Phillips – May 4, 2011

    DEP disputes directive on drilling violations Scott Detrow – May 4, 2011

    Work halted at 105 Marcellus Shale wells as DEP probes spill Scott Detrow – April 21, 2011

    After 20 hours, fracking leak contained in Pa. Scott Detrow – April 20, 2011

    Corbett moves to stop bromide release into Pa. waterways Scott Detrow – April 19, 2011

    Frack wars reach other side of the Delaware Phil Gregory – April 11, 2011

    DEP orders twice monthly testing at public wastewater-treatment centers Scott Detrow – April 8, 2011

    EPA launches study of fracking’s impact on water Susan Phillips – April 5, 2011

    Top DEP officials must OK Marcellus Shale drilling citations Scott Detrow – March 30, 2011

    Fracking may become a greener process Susan Phillips – March 30, 2011

    Severance tax out, but Pa. fees on gas industry possible Scott Detrow – March 25, 2011

    Marcellus Shale panel has first meeting Scott Detrow – March 24, 2011

    Municipal leaders differ on need for gas industry fee Susan Phillips – March 24, 2011

    Corbett may consider fee on natural gas drilling Scott Detrow – March 24, 2011

    Acting DEP chief says water testing will continue Scott Detrow – March 16, 2011

    DEP river tests find low radioactivity in Pa. water Scott Detrow – March 7, 2011

    Report cites environmental risks of gas-drilling process Susan Phillips – February 28, 2011

    DAVE DAVIES OFF MIC: Sanity returns, sort of – February 15, 2011

    DAVE DAVIES OFF MIC: Super sleaze – February 14, 2011 

    Lax Pa. law is open door to gas companies’ gifts – Scott Detrow – February 14, 2011

    Democrats try again for natural gas tax in Pennsylvania Scott Detrow – February 11, 2011

    DEP: Gas from Pa. drilling not at ‘dangerous’ level Scott Detrow – January 31, 2011

    Oscar nomination draws attention to Pa. gas drilling Scott Detrow – January 26, 2011

    Panel backs city plan to avoid buying Marcellus Shale gas Tom MacDonald – January 21, 2011

    Pa. disposal of drilling waste-water raises concerns Susan Phillips – January 3, 2011

    Poll finds Pennsylvanians concerned over ‘fracking’ Susan Phillips – December 21, 2010

    Phila. acts to deflect possibility of pollution from gas drilling – December 15, 2010

    Casey pushes for federal rules on natural gas industry – December 13, 2010

    Tougher rules proposed for natural gas drilling near Delaware River – December 9, 2010

    Gas industry lobbyists advise Corbett on energy issues Susan Phillips – December 8, 2010

    13,000 gallons of ‘frack fluid’ spew from tank Susan Phillips – November 22, 2010

    Conservancy: Drilling would level some Pa. forests – November 15, 2010

    The story behind Pa.’s spying on activists Susan Phillips – November 12, 2010

    Chevron now pursues Marcellus Shale gas – November 10, 2010

    EPA subpoenas Halliburton’s fracking recipe Kerry Grens – November 9, 2010

    Study suggests natural gas drilling releases traces of uranium – October 28, 2010

    Rendell halts natural gas leases on state forests – October 26, 2010

    Collapse of gas tax discussion strains state Susan Phillips – October 22, 2010

    Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling on hold – October 18, 2010

    Academy explores ecological impact of natural gas drilling – October 12, 2010

    Corbett and Onorato on the shale tax Elizabeth Fiedler – October 1, 2010

    Pa. Senate cold on a House bill for natural gas severance tax Scott Detrow – September 30, 2010

    Some fresh water disappears down a hole in ‘fracking’ Patrick Cobbs- September 29, 2010

    Is air quality the next big worry over natural gas drilling? Patrick Cobbs – September 29, 2010

    Families say fracking killed their water wells Susan Phillips – September 16, 2010

    Activists say Pa. wasted money spying on them Susan Phillips – September 15, 2010

    Philadelphia weighs response to gas drilling Tom MacDonald – September 14, 2010

    Marcellus Shale’s play in PA: Politics, economics & environment Radio Times – September 14, 2010

    Pa. shale controversy sparks fear of violence Susan Phillips – September 10, 2010

    Pennsylvania debates tax on shale drilling Susan Phillips – September 7, 2010

    State steps up enforcement on gas industry trucks Kerry Grens – September 3, 2010

    Transient natural gas drillers boost parts of the state’s economy Scott Detrow – August 31, 2010

    Rendell wants shale gas tax to help the budget Scott Detrow – August 20, 2010

    Momentum builds for eminent domain drilling bill Scott Detrow – August 12, 2010

    Is list of shale drilling chemicals enough? Susan Phillips – August 12, 2010

    Natural Gas drillers want to “pool” around hold-outs Susan Phillips – August 9, 2010

    Marcellus Shale driller offers settlement to landowners Susan Phillips – August 9, 2010

    New bill would set strict regulations on natural gas drilling Scott Detrow -July 27, 2010

    In Pa. the fate of “fracking” depends on what river you live near Susan Phillips -July 27, 2010

    Environmentalists applaud frack formula release Tom MacDonald -July 16, 2010

    Natural gas company reveals “fracking” chemical composition Susan Phillips -July 16, 2010

    War of words over natural gas drilling Susan Phillips -July 15, 2010

    Natural gas company to disclose drilling chemicals Susan Phillips -July 15, 2010

    Should We Drill for Natural Gas in the Marcellus Shale? Radio Times – June 22, 2010

    Hearing on natural gas well blowout, problem called near miss Scott Detrow – June 16, 2010

    West Chester company finds new way to treat drilling water Susan Phillips – June 16, 2010

    Exploratory drilling put on hold in Northeastern Pa. Susan Phillips – June 14, 2010

    Harrisburg hears pro/cons over natural gas drilling tax Scott Detrow – June 10, 2010

    Natural gas blow-out prompts halt in Pennsylvania drilling Susan Phillips – June 7, 2010

    Environmental group: gas drilling could taint Philadelphia drinking water Susan Phillips – June 3, 2010

    Shell buys stake in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale Susan Phillips – June 2, 2010

    Lawmakers, residents struggle with whether to permit more gas drilling Susan Phillips -March 26, 2010

    DelCo lawmaker wants to end shale game in PA forests Taunya English – February 14, 2010

    Groups say drilling is a threat to NJ water Mark Eichmann – December 30, 2009

    Exxon’s move could speed up natural gas drilling in Pa. Susan Phillips -December 15, 2009

    Pa. DEP official not surprised by pollution lawsuit Scott Detrow -November 27, 2009

    The pros and cons of Marcellus Shale drilling Radio Times – October 15, 2009

    Drilling in state parks Kerry Grens – August 18, 2009

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