Natural gas extraction from the Marcellus formation in Pennsylvania

Cody Mellott (Bard Center for Environmental Policy) has written a thesis on the environmental impacts of Marcellus gas drilling in PA State Parks.

Natural gas extraction from the Marcellus formation in Pennsylvania: Environmental impacts and possible policy responses for state parks
by Cody Mellot, Bard Center for Environmental Policy


State Parks in Pennsylvania are beginning to feel pressure from increasing natural gas exploration activities in the Marcellus Shale formation. Drilling for natural gas has the potential to negatively impact the environment, and may negatively affect Pennsylvania’s award winning State Park system.

Natural gas drilling operators have years of legal precedent which makes it difficult for the Bureau of State Parks to adequately protect and manage its land. State Parks currently have no legal means to keep drilling from occurring on nearly 233,000 acres of Park land.

After speaking with Bureau of State Parks’ Managers, and comparing oil and gas law from Ohio, West Virginia, and Wyoming to those laws found in Pennsylvania, it is clear changes must be made to laws concerning natural gas extraction to adequately protect Pennsylvania’s State Parks. Until changes are made on a legal level, Parks must continue to work diligently to forge positive relationships with natural gas companies to insure cooperation between the companies and the Parks. It may also be time for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and especially the Bureau of State Parks, to abandon old management directives and become more proactive in expressing its views on environmental issues involving State Parks.

Download the entire thesis. [PDF]

Mellott_Thesis_2011.pdf1.21 MB