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Tom Ridge urges gas industry to make nice

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Former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge says the gas industry has "some work to do" on its image with the public.

Governor-turned-gas-industry-sherpa Tom Ridge says that gas drillers need to buff up their image if they want to get landowners on board, reports Michael Rubinkam at the Associated Press:

While talking up the economic potential of the Marcellus, Ridge told The Associated Press that energy companies know they must do a better job of reassuring citizens that they take environmental protection seriously. "The industry, from my perspective, needs to be concerned about their public image and needs to understand what they need to do to improve it," Ridge said. "They are conscious of it. They know they have some work to do." He said drillers may have misjudged how Pennsylvania residents would feel about an industry that arrived virtually overnight, creating startling wealth and tens of thousands of jobs but also plenty of headaches, including truck traffic, industrial accidents and contaminated aquifers.

Ridge has been working as a "strategic advisor" to the Marcellus Shale Coalition for about a year.

David Thompson at the Williamsport Sun-Gazette is reporting that the state of Pennsylvania is investigating new instances of methane contamination in wells and a stream:

[Department of Environmental Protection] DEP spokesman Daniel Spadoni said methane has been found in five water wells. Test results showed methane levels were "elevated" in two of the wells while test results of the other three are pending. "We initially received a complaint about bubbling in a private drinking water well on May 17," Spadoni said. "We did find elevated levels of methane in the head space of that well." XTO Energy, a division of ExxonMobil, has a well pad with three drilled and hydrofractured natural gas wells on it within about 2,300 feet of the first well it investigated, Spadoni said.

The energy firm is also conducting its own investigation of the methane.


In a commentary at MarketWatch, Dave Kansas writes that domestic natural gas drilling is a solution for "a nation starving" for jobs and energy - and that those who stand in its way are hampering progress:

Here’s an idea: Stop. If Obama wants a second term, he needs more job growth and cheaper fuel. He should declare a moratorium on all new regulations related to the energy sector, hydraulic fracturing in particular. By embracing the natural gas innovation revolution, he could spark a surge in job creation and cheaper, domestic energy.

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