Fracking fans, foes due here

Posted: September 07, 2011

A WHO'S WHO of Pennsylvania's emergent natural-gas industry will meet in Philadelphia today and tomorrow to talk about a shale-gas boom that supporters say has boosted domestic energy supplies while creating tens of thousands of jobs. Drilling opponents, meanwhile, are planning a rival event.

An industry trade group, the Marcellus Shale Coalition, expects 1,600 attendees at its inaugural Shale Gas Insight conference at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

The sold-out event will include presentations by the CEOs of several major drilling companies, as well as speeches by Gov. Corbett and his two immediate predecessors, Ed Rendell and Tom Ridge, all of whom have been supporters of an industry that's grown exponentially since the first successful Marcellus well was drilled in Pennsylvania in 2004.

"At the national level and beyond, it's a gathering that's sure to solidify the positioning of the Marcellus as the granddaddy of a broader shale-gas revolution," Kathryn Klaber, president and executive director of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, said yesterday.

Activists are countering the industry meeting with their own two-day event that will feature a march, a rally and a conference focusing on the negative impacts of gas drilling.

Shale Gas Outrage 2011, sponsored by dozens of environmental, political and labor groups and spearheaded by Philadelphia-based Protecting Our Waters, will open with a news conference at which several state residents who say they've been harmed by drilling and fracking will tell their stories.

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