Gas in Mass.? Not so fast.

In October I gave a talk on the law surrounding hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and shared the stage with Professor Steven Petsch, a geologist who teaches at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. oct 9 mtg 1 You can watch both presentations by clicking here. Mine starts around the 46-minute mark, by the way.

My presentation focused on the current regulatory ban on Class II wells and the question of whether it could withstand a courtroom challenge. Professor Petsch described the geology of the Pioneer Valley and made absolutely clear that nobody has discovered natural gas in the area. He also explained why: The history of the rock formations in Western and Central Massachusetts make it extremely unlikely that they contain recoverable natural gas.

About a year ago the Massachusetts State Geologist posted a helpful overview online, which you can read here. Like Professor Petsch, the State Geologist makes abundantly clear that nobody has discovered natural gas in Massachusetts.

Nevertheless an organization called Environment Massachusetts keeps claiming that gas deposits have been found here. The people who work for Environment Massachusetts may be right about a lot of things, but on this they are just wrong. So please remember, if a canvasser from Environment Massachusetts asks you for a contribution because (as their website alleges) “geologists recently discovered shale gas in Western Massachusetts,” you may decline with a perfectly clear conscience.

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