Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pennsylvania Energy Impacts Assessment Released

The Nature Conservancy-Pennsylvania Chapter, Audubon Pennsylvania, and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy just released an extensive report entitled Pennsylvania Energy Impacts Assessment  (Financial support was provided by the Heinz Endowments, RK Mellon Foundation and the William Penn Foundation).

The report examines the impacts of both Marcellus Shale natural gas development as well as wind energy development.  I have listed some of the key findings as they relate to Marcellus Shale natural gas development below.  To view the full report click here.

* About 60,000 new Marcellus wells are projected by 2030 in Pennsylvania with a range of 6,000 to 15,000 well pads, depending on the number of wells per pad;
* Wells are likely to be developed in at least 30 counties, with the greatest number concentrated in 15 southwestern, north central, and northeastern counties;
* Nearly two thirds of well pads are projected to be in forest areas, with forest clearing projected to range between 34,000 and 83,000 acres depending on the number of number of well pads that are developed. An additional range of 80,000 to 200,000 acres of forest interior habitat impacts are projected due to new forest edges created by well pads and associated infrastructure (roads, water impoundments);
Impacts on forest interior breeding bird habitats vary with the range and population densities of the species;
* Watersheds with healthy eastern brook trout populations substantially overlap with projected Marcellus development sites;
* Nearly a third of the species tracked by the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program are found in areas projected to have a high probability of Marcellus well development;
* Marcellus gas development is projected to be extensive across Pennsylvania's 4.5 million acres of public lands, including State Parks, State Forests, and State Game Lands;
* Integration of conservation features into the planning and development of Marcellus gas well fields can significantly reduce impacts; 

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