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Ohio Utica Shale

ProPublica looks at Pennsylvania problems tied to drilling

By Bob Downing Published: April 1, 2014

From ProPublica Communications today:

In Fracking Fight, How to Measure Health Threats?

The more than 6,000 active gas wells in Pennsylvania generate scores of complaints each week, many about terrible odors and contaminated water,
ProPublica's Naveena Sadasivam reports today.

How the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection handles those complaints has worsened the already raw and angry divide between fearful residents and the state regulators charged with overseeing the burgeoning gas drilling industry.

For instance, what does the agency's own manual for dealing with complaints tell workers to do if someone reports concerns about a noxious odor, but is not at that very moment experiencing the smell? "DO NOT REGISTER THE COMPLAINT."

What's more, even if there is a real-time alarm about the air quality in or around a home, the agency typically has two weeks to conduct an investigation. If no odor is detected when investigators arrive on the scene, the case is closed.

Highlights from Sadasivam's report:


  • A study published today in Reviews on Environmental Health confirms that emission levels from drilling sites spike drastically over short periods of time, making it hard to assess the true threat to people's health.
  • DEP data shows that between 2011 and 2014, the department received over 2,000 complaints about oil and natural gas operations.
  • In Southwestern Pennsylvania, which has extensive fracking operations, there were 617 registered complaints over those years, including 47 involving troubling odors.
  • In 2007, Pennsylvania produced close to 10 billion cubic feet of gas from the Marcellus formation. By 2012, that number had grown to over 2 trillion cubic feet, compounding health concerns.

See the full story here:; it is free to link to or republish under our Creative Commons license.



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Utica and Marcellus shale web sites

Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.