Pennsylvanians have important questions about natural gas development in the Keystone State. We are here to help answer them.
We receive a lot of questions from Pennsylvanians on natural gas development. Below are answers to some of the most frequent questions. If you have other questions, please fill out the form below and stop back for answers.
- What kind of economic impact does the development of natural gas have on our state?
- I live in Philadelphia, how does natural gas development impact me?
- What is natural gas used for, anyways?
- I’ve read a lot lately about water sources being impacted by natural gas drilling. What kinds of safeguards are in place to ensure my family is safe?
- Natural gas is a fossil fuel – what kind of impact does it have on the environment?
- What kinds of chemicals are in fracking fluid?
- What’s the difference between an NGV and a regular car?
What kind of economic impact does the development of natural gas have on our state?
Natural gas production in Pennsylvania creates direct and indirect employment, boosts the purchase of goods and services, and increases local, state and federal tax revenue. There are also significant benefits to “downstream” and ancillary industries, such as industries that manufacture products made with or from natural gas or equipment used by natural gas companies.
One study by Penn State University estimated that natural gas would bring more than 250,000 jobs to Pennsylvania by 2020, contributing $20 billion in value-added revenue and $2 billion in state and local taxes.
These jobs are well-paying and secure, and range from well operators and construction workers to geologists and engineers. The natural gas industry is committed to training Pennsylvanians for these jobs, and has partnered with technical schools and universities across the state to provide job training and education.
I live in Philadelphia, how does natural gas development impact me?
Although you may not directly sit atop the Marcellus shale, Philadelphia has a great deal to gain from the development of this prolific resource economically and environmentally.
Economically speaking, the further development of natural gas spurs downstream economic revival, creating jobs for industries including the chemical and manufacturing sector. Furthermore, taxes from wages and income are collected on a state level and funneled back into the Keystone state; helping residents from Erie to Philadelphia reap the rewards of natural gas development.
A study by IHS Global Insight estimated that the average American household would save $926 in disposable income this year thanks to lower costs of natural gas, created by the abundance of this fuel.
When it comes to environmental issues, natural gas helps reduce harmful emissions from cars and power plants. Natural gas burns cleaner in power generation than other fuel sources, emitting virtually no mercury, particulates or sulfur dioxide. When used as a transportation fuel, natural gas vehicles (NGVs) provide similar reductions in emissions compared to those that run on gasoline or diesel.
What is natural gas used for, anyways?
Natural gas is used for lots of things, including power generation and as a fuel for cars. Major facilities and municipalities across the Keystone state are fueled in part by natural gas, including Lincoln Financial Field, home to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAT) which runs busses through Pittsburgh, and the Erie Metropolitan Transportation Authority (EMTA). Additionally, it’s the preferable fuel for cooking, according to most accomplished chefs because it provides better temperature control than electric stovetops, and is a safe and low-cost way to heat your home.
I’ve read a lot lately about water being impacted by natural gas drilling. What kinds of safeguards are in place to ensure my family is safe?
All energy development comes with some risk, but proven structural safeguards and state-of-the-art monitoring technologies allow natural gas producers to protect water, air and land. Over the past 60 years, more than one million U.S. wells have been safely produced using hydraulic fracturing. The natural gas community in Pennsylvania uses the latest technology, from conducting integrity testing before and during to utilizing multiple layers of steel encased in cement to protect any fresh water supplies.
Furthermore, there are federal and state regulations that ensure natural gas development occurs in concert with strong environment protection. Pennsylvania’s current environmental laws and regulations for oil and gas production are among the most stringent in the nation. The PA Department of Environmental Protection provides regulation over well permitting, construction, casing and wastewater treatment and disposal. These regulations are in place to ensure your family remains safe and Pennsylvania’s pristine streams and lush forests are protected.
Natural gas is a fossil fuel – what kind of impact does it have on the environment?
Natural gas is a better option for power generation and vehicles since it burns cleaner and emits virtually no mercury, particulates or sulfur dioxide. When used as a transportation fuel, natural gas vehicles (NGVs) emit less CO2 than those that run on gasoline or diesel.
By increasing our utilization of this cleaner, abundant and domestic energy resource, we can dramatically accelerate U.S. efforts to reduce air pollution in our communities. Furthermore, natural gas serves as a clean, reliable partner for renewables, enabling their continued expansion by providing dependable back-up power on overcast or calm-wind days.
What kinds of chemicals are in fracking fluid?
A broad range of industry associations, including America’s Natural Gas Alliance, the Independent Petroleum Association of America and the American Petroleum Institute, support FracFocus.org – a public database of hydraulic fracturing fluids developed by the Ground Water Protection Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. The state-based registry of hydraulic fracturing fluids includes information on a well-by-well basis for operations on government and private lands.
Pressurized water and sand are the main ingredients used in hydraulic fracturing. Other additives – most commonly found in consumer products – make up less than one percent of the overall mixture. It is then used to create small, often millimeter-thick fissures in carefully targeted sections of the deep shale rock—typically found a mile below the earth’s surface. A full list of ingredients can be found here.
What’s the difference between an NGV and a regular car?
Natural gas vehicles (NGVs) are an excellent, clean alternative to conventionally fueled vehicles. NGVs outperform conventional fuels with a significantly higher octane rating, better fuel efficiency and lower operating costs. And, the number and variety of compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles and conversion-eligible CNG vehicles that are available are increasing all the time. In fact, there are about 150,000 NGVs on the road in the United States currently.
The Honda GX is currently the only dedicated for-purchase CNG option at this time, starting at $24,590 and eligible for a $4,000 federal tax credit. It compares feature-wise to a mid-level, gasoline-powered $17,760 Civic LX and has a government rating of 28 miles per gallon in the city and 39 miles per gallon on the highway.