Covering Hydrofracking of the Marcellus Shale

Apr 25, 2012

One of the most active journalists covering the story of natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale Region says it's become controversial partly because of a spotty environmental record for the industry, and partly because of a lack of openness on the part of gas drilling firms about what they're doing and how they're doing it.

Tom Wilber is author of "Under The Surface; Fracking, Fortunes and the Fate of the Marcellus Shale." He says part of the reason why the process of drilling for gas with the hydraulic fracturing method, is the secretive nature of the process and the companies that use it.

Click on the audio player above to listen to a portion of his conversation with WXXI’s Bob Smith on Tuesday’s 1370 Connection.

WXXI's Innovation Trail local journalism center has also concentrated heavily on covering hydrofracking throughout New York State.

Wilber, a University of Rochester graduate, says the industry has a spotty record with a mixture of companies, some of which are responsible and accountable, while some are not. He spoke Tuesday evening at the U of R's Hubbell Auditorium.

Wilber says the industry has a mix of players with varying records on environmental responsibility and accountability to the public

Wilber says the record's very mixed on how well the gas-drilling industry has done in terms of exercising prudence and using the best practices for minimizing environmental damage.