This website, which is a joint project between National Public Radio and PA local
radio stations, provides reports from two reporters on energy, the environment, and the economy in Pennsylvania. Because Marcellus Shale development is inextricably related to those issues, most of the reporting is related to natural gas. This website is an excellent resource that provides in depth coverage of the drilling debate. The information is balanced and does not promote a particular agenda. The site is easy to navigate and the articles are easy to find, but it is not very interactive. Links to other sites and discussions are limited.
FracTracker is a nonprofit alliance that recognizes the gaps in data that make
natural gas drilling so full of uncertainty. Because the impacts are largely unknown and there is a lack of baseline data in terms of health, environment, and societal effects, fractracker.org provides a place for people to share information. Graphs, maps, and commentaries are all compiled in this website in order to help those involved in fracking to understand what is really going on. Much of the information is technical in nature and is probably beyond the understanding of the average citizen; however the information is thorough and abundant. The site has tabs for easy navigation, and photos add to its appearance. The goal appears to be to be a watchdog of the gas industry.
Although the government regulations are a different aspect of the fracking debate all together, regulations are crucial to the topic of citizens’ input because of the influence that citizens have on our governing and regulatory bodies. When regulation is not strong
enough or is too restrictive, citizens react in response. The PA DEP website’s page on natural gas provides information for citizens on fracking regulations and the actions the agency is taking to promote the well being of its citizens. The page provides clear information about what Act 13 is, links to informational webinars, and a hotline to report suspected environmental emergencies. The site is very straightforward and unbiased (aside from the biases toward industry within the PA government that many argue exist).
Dimock Proud is an excellent example of a community group that has organized
their efforts of promoting their cause. Dimock Proud projects a positive, optimistic perspective of the effects of natural gas drilling in Dimock, Pennsylvania. The website states their purpose and mission clearly, and provides opportunities for citizens to become involved with the group. It offers information on technical aspects of fracking, provides a forum for community discussion, provides links to relevant news stories, and has video footage that enhances the attractiveness of the site. The information is biased toward a pro-drilling point of view, however it provides information on a variety of aspects of the fracking process.
CitizensVoice is the Luzerne County newspaper website, which provides easy
access to its fracking related articles. The search tool returned a large number of articles related to Marcellus Shale. Title, date, and author information is readily visible. Stories older than 30 days are in the archives, which is also clearly and visibly labeled. Much information on citizens’ opinions comes from news articles that contain quotes and interviews of affected citizens. A newspaper website with clarity and a large collection of articles provides the most balanced and thorough information.
Public Herald is a non-profit organization of journalists committed to providing
the public with investigative reporting and a forum for engagement regarding issues and conditions that face communities. Specifically, the organization investigates situations in which citizens’ opinions may be overshadowed by government, industry, or society. A section of the website dedicated to fracking contains articles that provide an investigation into natural gas pollution, regulations, and remediation. The site is simple to navigate and provides easy ways for readers to comment on the articles or to become more involved through email subscriptions and social media. A significant amount of information is available, however most stories represent the anti-fracking perspective.
For More Information
Citizens interested in learning more about oil and gas company policies andpractices can browse this website that argues the economic positive impacts of naturalgas development.
This site provides videos, photos, and commentary from citizens with negativeexperiences involving natural gas drilling.
This website provides information and resources to citizens from anenvironmental activism organization that advocates for clean water and opposes fracking.
Citizens can look to the EPA website to find the role the federal government playsin protecting citizens’ health and safety.