Gas drilling is leaving a trail of pollution across Pennsylvania

The faster the gas industry grows, the bigger the swath of destruction it leaves across Pennsylvania.

Already, gas companies employing a dangerous form of drilling known as “hydrofracking” have contaminated our drinking water with benzene, toluene, formaldehyde and other dangerous contaminants; dumped under-treated wastewater in rivers and streams from the Monongahela to Neshaminy Creek; and clearcut our state forestland to make way for gas wells.

At risk: The health of our environment and communities

Countless Pennsylvanians living close to gas wells have seen their lives turn upside down. Families living in the shadow of gas drilling face explosions mere feet from their doorsteps, polluted tap water that is unsafe to drink, toxic fumes in the air they breathe, and more:

  • Pat Farnelli and her kids suffered excruciating stomach pain whenever they drank tap water. Despite industry denials, the DEP concluded that nearby drilling had contaminated 19 water wells in Pat’s town.
  • Health experts are finding increased air pollution near drilling sites, and residents living near gas operations have consistently experienced dizziness and nosebleeds.
  • Dimock resident Norma Fiorentino’s personal water well exploded in her front yard on New Year’s Day in 2009. State investigators found that Cabot’s nearby drilling had caused the well to fill up with combustible methane gas.
  • June Chapel feared for her safety and was forced to stay indoors when the toxic wastewater pit in her backyard caught on fire.
  • The Johnson family was forced to quarantine 28 head of cattle on their farm after they came in contact with toxic gas drilling fluid.
  • Watch our Marcellus Shale Stories video series to learn more about how drilling impacts the lives of Pennsylvanians.

These stories only scratch the surface. It all adds up to one simple, powerful message: The drilling happening across Pennsylvania is dangerous to our environment, and to Pennsylvanians like you and me. And gas companies are either unwilling or unable to drill safely.

Gas companies have friends in high places

What are our leaders in Harrisburg doing while the gas industry runs amok? At best, they’re turning a blind eye. At worst, they’re working with industry lobbyists to loosen up the rules even more.

With the backing of Gov. Corbett and his friends in the Legislature, the gas industry is pushing a set of policies that will make it even easier for them to run roughshod over our environment. We need your help to stop this from happening.

With our activism and advocacy, we can stop the dangers of gas drilling

With your help, we’re working to stop this runaway train from rolling right through our communities, spoiling our water, forests and air in its wake.

It won’t be easy, especially with a governor who’s pocketed huge sums from drilling companies and a Legislature that refuses to stand up to him.

But we’re in this fight for the long haul. With your help, we’re building the vocal public outcry that’s needed against drilling — a voice that will be too loud for the lobbyists to drown out, and too loud for our legislators to ignore. And our strategy starts at the grassroots:

  • We’re going to inform and educate 100,000 people about the threats of gas drilling.
  • PennEnvironment Field Director Adam Garber is holding Citizen Organizer trainings across the state to teach 1,000 Pennsylvanians the skills they need defend their communities from gas drilling. Sign up for our email alerts to learn about upcoming trainings near you.
  • Clean Water Advocate Erika Staaf is releasing hard-hitting reports exposing the damage the gas industry has already caused.
  • We’re collecting petitions to hold our legislators’ feet to the fire, and turning up the heat on Gov. Corbett as the next election approaches, so that he knows the public is not happy with his gas-industry-fueled policies.

Thousands of you have already joined the fight. Across the Commonwealth, you’re calling or emailing your legislators, signing petitions, spreading the word to your friends and family, and attending hearings. We need many more people like you to join with us, and send a strong message that the health of Pennsylvania’s environment and communities is more important than short-term political gain.

Join our campaign by sending your legislators a message today.

Drilling Updates


Report Shows PA Fracking Requirements Inadequate

study released Tuesday by an environmental activist group shows Pennsylvania’s bonding practices are inadequate to cover the cost and range of damage from drilling and fracking activities.

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Report | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Who Pays the Cost of Fracking?

"Fracking” operations pose a staggering array of threats to our environment and health. Many of these damages from drilling have significant “dollars and cents” costs. To the extent that this dirty drilling is allowed to continue, policymakers must require, among other things, that the oil and gas industry provide up front financial assurance commensurate with the potential for damage.

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News Release | PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center

Filmmaker Josh Fox, Local Groups, Bring New Fracking Documentary GASLAND 2 to Pittsburgh

Josh Fox, director of the 2011 Academy Award-nominated documentary Gasland, joined grassroots groups, environmental organizations, medical experts, and residents affected by gas drilling activities to discuss the dangers of drilling and to introduce Fox’s new documentary film, Gasland 2, prior to the nationwide July 8 premiere on HBO.

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News Release | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

100,000 Signatures for a Moratorium on Fracking Delivered to Gov. Tom Corbett

With public concern about serious harms caused by the gas drilling process known as fracking continuing to rise, PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center and a coalition of public health, community and environmental groups delivered more than 100,000 petitions to the state Legislature and Gov. Tom Corbett today. The petition calls for a moratorium on gas drilling in Pennsylvania until our environment and public health can be protected. 

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News Release | PennEnvironment

Concerned citizens trek 12 miles in the name of protecting Loyalsock State Forest

Pennsylvanians from every walk of life and all corners of the state met outside of Williamsport today to partake in a symbolic 12-mile trek to defend Loyalsock State Forest from a pending gas drilling proposal.  Most of these concerned citizens had never met before, but were moved by the call to action to defend the beloved Old Logger’s Path found in the state forest, known for its beautiful waterfalls and breathtaking vistas.

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