Pennsylvania Interfaith Group Opposes Shale Drilling

A statewide interfaith organization has introduced questions of morality and climate change into the debate about Marcellus Shale gas well development.

Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light today will issue a four-page “ethical analysis” that declares its opposition to development of the deep and massive shale gas play because it is not part of a strategy to end fossil fuel use, creates too many environmental and health risks, and perpetuates the “boom and bust” cycles of other, earlier extractive industries in the state.

“We believe there could be ethical ways to drill, but we’re not there yet,” said Rabbi Daniel Swartz, of Temple Hesed in Scranton and vice president and board member of the interfaith group. “We have questions about how Marcellus drilling fits into a general energy strategy and how it impacts communities in the state that have been subject to repeated booms and busts from the oil, coal and timber industries.

“We also need to figure out if we are setting ourselves up for problems down the road or setting ourselves up for something more sustainable,” he said. “One of the biggest direct long-term impacts of this drilling is whether it’s going to be contributing to climate change.”

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