Marcellus Shale Meeting Gets Raucous

Philadelphia Inquirer

Busloads of activists – both for and against drilling for natural gas in Pennsylvania – converged on the Delaware River Basin Commission Wednesday to plead their cases.

Heckling and jeering characterized three hours of public comment, with so many people attending that the meeting was moved from commission headquarters in West Trenton to a nearby fire hall.

Even then, the crowd exceeded the room’s 400-person capacity, and about 165 people had to wait outside.

Many had driven several hours from northeastern Pennsylvania, where contention about drilling for natural gas in the productive Marcellus Shale geologic formation has polarized residents.

While drilling is moving forward elsewhere – the state has issued nearly 1,500 Marcellus permits this year – the commission has effectively halted most drilling in the sprawling river basin by deciding that regulations specific to natural-gas activities must be developed first.

The yelling began at a rally out front.

“Every drill site is a potential Superfund site!” hollered Tracy Carluccio of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, a nonprofit organization opposed to drilling. Her supporters waved signs that read “Save our rivers” and “No frackin’ way” – a reference to the process that involves fracturing a well with water and other chemicals, some of them toxic, to release the gas.

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