Pittsburgh residents consider Marcellus Shale drilling both an economic opportunity and an environmental risk, according to a study released by PittsburghTODAY and the University of Pittsburgh’s University Center for Social and Urban Research.
Overall, the survey found that 45 percent of individuals support drilling, while 25 percent oppose it and the rest have no strong opinion. Washington County residents have a more favorable opinion of shale drilling than Pittsburgh residents, with 76 percent expressing that Marcellus Shale offers at least a moderate economic opportunity for the region.
“In Washington County – where the Marcellus 'shoe' fits most snugly – residents believe more strongly in the benefits of drilling, but they also have concerns about environmental effects,” said Douglas Heuck, director of PittsburghTODAY.
By comparison, 70 percent of Pittsburghers feel that shale drilling is a moderate or significant economic opportunity for the region.
Results for Washington County can be read here.
Despite the perceived economic benefits, eight in 10 residents also believe drilling poses at least a slight hazard to the environment and public health.
Data was gathered from a 120-question Pittsburgh Regional Quality of Life Survey released earlier this year. The survey polled residents from the city of Pittsburgh; residents outside of the city but within Allegheny County; Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties; and the remaining 25 counties of the “Power of 32” region.
The survey included a sample of 430 residents of Washington County, which was home to 656 natural gas wells as of July 2012. Allegheny County only had 13 wells by comparison.
Data tables from www.pittsburghtoday.org