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House Democratic Policy Committee Considers Marcellus Shale Issues

The House Democratic Policy Committee held a public hearing in Harrisburg Wednesday to look at the impact drilling in the Marcellus Shale formation is having on Pennsylvania, Chairman Mike Sturla (D-Lancaster), said.
            The hearing was one of several the Policy Committee has held since the Governor's Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission released its report last month. This summer the group has traveled across the Commonwealth investigating the various effects the burgeoning natural gas industry has had on the state and gathered public feedback.
            "Natural gas drilling has affected Pennsylvania's regions in different ways," Rep. Sturla said. "The notion that unless there is a drill in your neighborhood you're not feeling the industry's effect is erroneous on many levels. The Policy Committee has taken a balanced approach to examining the way Marcellus Shale is shaping the Commonwealth's environment, economy and infrastructure by presenting all sides of the discussion.
            "These hearings have gone a long way toward expanding the conversation and educating lawmakers, municipal leaders and the public on this issue."
            Rep. Sturla also said at the hearing, "Also, aside from building roads so their trucks can get to drill sites and doing a little stream work to mitigate damage from their road building, exactly what are all those things the drillers are doing for the local communities? Patronizing the bars at night? Driving up the cost of rental housing? Spreading sexually transmitted disease amongst the womenfolk? Causing school districts to ask local governments to ban truck traffic on local roads during school bus pick up and drop off times so kids don't get killed? Upgrading emergency preparedness equipment to handle a well blow out? Running compressor stations that have decibel levels equal to a jet engine?...Really community oriented stuff...”
            Rep. Sturla later backed off of his quote using the term "womanfolk," but not on the substance of STD problems in areas with drilling crews.  A review of Department of Health statistics does not show a dramatic increase in STD rates, although  Lycoming County had an increase of more than 100 percent-- 56 cases-- for a total of 103 for gonorrhea.
            Those testifying at the hearing included Dr. Timothy Kelsey, state program leader, Economic and Community Development and professor of Agricultural Economics, Penn State University; Jan Jarrett, president, PennFuture; and Jack Machek, president & CEO, 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania.
                                Lawmaker Apologies For Womenfolk Crack On Drilling 
                                John Baer: Save The Womenfolk From Drilling Crews! 

                                Blog: Rep. Sturla Quote On Drilling (Rated R) 
                                Lawmaker Suggests Drilling Crews Spread STDs Amongst Womenfolk 
                                Lawmaker Apologies For Womenfolk Crack On Drilling 
                                John Baer: Save The Womenfolk From Drilling Crews! 
                                Statistics Refute Lawmaker's Claim Of STDs In Drilling Areas


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