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Pennsylvania Environmental Protection Secretary Sees Opportunities in Fracking

February 09, 2012

The growth opportunities posed by Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale took a step forward, said Michael Krancer, the state’s secretary of environmental protection said during a visit to the law school on Feb. 8.

Moments before Krancer’s talk began, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed a bill that imposes local impact fees on natural-gas drillers.

Until the law was passed, Pennsylvania was the only state that had neglected to collect fees from drillers. But the law has sparked criticism, since it strips zoning control from municipalities affected by drilling.

Krancer said, however, that fees called for in the legislation will enable the state to enforce safety and environmental protection regulations to ensure that gas drilling is conducted without producing hazards.

The controversy surrounding fracking, or the process of injecting a pressurized chemical-infused liquid into rock layers to release embedded natural gas, Krancer said, reflects a “just say no” reaction by critics who do not know enough about the procedure.

Gas drilling creates a huge number of jobs while reducing energy costs for residents and businesses, he said.

Krancer’s visit was sponsored by the Environmental Law Society, the American Constitutional Society, and the Student Bar Association Public Interest Liaison.