Pennsylvania Chapter Sierra Club

Act Now to Support the Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission

Share this page on FacebookShare this page on TwitterShare this page with other services


The Sierra Club has joined forces with other conservation and civic groups to create a "Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission." Unlike the Governor's Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, which was stacked with representatives of the gas industry and the Corbett administration, the Citizens Commission held public hearings around Pennsylvania and heard the stories of people affected by gas drilling.  More than 400 citizens attended these hearings, and more than 100 submitted comments to the Commission online.

Monday, the Citizens' Commission released their recommendations, which address issues overlooked by the Governor's Commission.  Now the General Assembly needs to move forward to make the necessary changes in state law and regulations. 

Major recommendations include:

  • End the special treatment for the gas industry.
  • Identify and protect sensitive areas, make them off-limits to drilling.
  • Establish stricter protections for air quality, surface waters and groundwater.
  • Continue the moratorium on gas leasing in state forests.
  • End the piecemeal issuance of permits, make gas companies submit a development plan that identifies all infrastructure, and assess all the impacts in a comprehensive manner.
  • Make the drilling industry pay their fair share by imposing meaningful natural gas production taxes.

 Click here to read the Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission's recommendations.

Please fill out your contact information in the form below as completely as possible. You may also choose to edit the content of the text in the body of the message.


  • Your State Senator or Senators
  • Your State Representative or Representatives


*Required fields


Enact the Citizens Marcellus Shale Recommendations

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am writing to you about one of the important environmental challenges facing Pennsylvania today - Marcellus Shale gas drilling.

Pennsylvania's Oil and Gas Act and regulations for natural gas drilling were adopted long before deep horizontal drilling technology using the hydrofracking process began in Pennsylvania. The law and regulations are simply inadequate to deal with the environmental consequences of these technologies.

Meanwhile, thousands of permits have been issued to drill into Marcellus Shale formation. As a result of this rush to drill, many Pennsylvanians have suffered damage to their health and environment.

The Citizens' Marcellus Shale Commission released a report with their recommendations to protect public health and the environment from the threats posed by gas drilling. I am asking you to enact these recommendations, which were drawn from comments and testimony of hundreds of Pennsylvania citizens. These recommendations include:

* End the special treatment of the gas industry. End the policy of expediting permits for the gas industry immediately. End the general permits and waivers.

* Raise the bar to protect the environment. The Commonwealth should upgrade its laws and regulations governing gas drilling, provide funding necessary to ensure vigorous enforcement and significantly increase penalties on violators. Specific recommendations include increasing setback distances for wells from water supplies, better testing, better controls for air pollution emissions, and closed loop systems for all waste streams.

* Identify and protect areas of the state that are unsuitable for gas drilling. Continue the moratorium on new gas leases in state forests and extend it to state lands.

* Fully acknowledge the risks of drilling. Undertake a full cumulative impact analysis of existing and proposed drilling, including an analysis of impacts on water quality and quantity, air quality, land use, habitat, and human health.

* Make the industry pay its fair share. Institute a drilling tax on gas producers and restore local governments' ability to assess property taxes on the value of oil and gas reserves. Ensure proper bonding and clean-up requirements are in place for all well sites.

* Abandon the current piecemeal process for permitting gas drilling sites and infrastructure. Institute a comprehensive permit process for all wells and related facilities and ensure the process is transparent.

* Restore Conservation District review. County Conservation Districts play an important role in protecting our waters and are trusted by residents to fairly and thoroughly review permits and enforce the law.

I am asking you to support needed changes to the PA Oil and Gas Act. I am asking you to reform the Oil and Gas laws, support adoption of a natural gas tax, to make sure the drillers are paying their fair share.

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]