The Fracking Landscape: A Tale of Two Pennsylvanias

Why some Pennsylvania counties are pockmarked with fracking facilities and others have remained mostly untouched

Fracking_Master2-630.jpg

Pennsylvania's fracking frontlines have just been redrawn.

At first glance, the sweeping new law signed this month may seem a good deal for local communities. Over the next 15 years, the state is projected to rake in between $190,000 to $355,000 per gas well; 60 percent of that will go back to counties and municipalities, with the rest going to a state-managed fund for infrastructure projects. Proponents in the Republican-controlled legislature insist that the law levels the playing field for industry, while rewarding counties.

But fracking can be a messy and dangerous business, and locals complain that the law takes control away from citizens who have battled hard for local decision-making.

Watch the video and you'll see a tale of two Pennsylvanias: The first one, recognizable from Josh Fox's documentary Gasland, is Susquehanna county, bordering New York State. It is dotted with wells—the result of minimal local zoning laws. The second Pennsylvania is Dallas Township, where disputes, protests, and citizen engagement have kept most fracking development at bay. For now.

Image: Adron Dell'Osa, an organic farmer about to leave Pennsylvania, taken by James West, Climate Desk

James West is the editor and producer of The Climate Desk, a collaboration among The Atlantic, the Center for Investigative Reporting, Grist, Mother Jones, Slate, Wired, and PBS. He is the author of Beijing Blur.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Video

Just In