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During Kayak Tour, Corbett Ties Marcellus Boom To First Oil Wells

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The Drake Well, drilled in 1859

For the second summer in a row, Governor Corbett has hit the road – er, river – and toured Pennsylvania tourism spots in a kayak.

This year’s flotilla photo op brought the Republican to Titusville, where Edwin Drake drilled the very first oil well in 1859. As the Meadville Tribune reports, Corbett tied the first-ever oil boom to present-day natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale.

After his 13-mile kayak trip that began early in the day in the Tidioute area, Corbett hopped aboard the Oil City & Titusville Railroad for a mid-afternoon journey from the Oil City area to Titusville. He said the train ride allowed him and others to see the “living monument to the people who had ideas, took risks” and had a lot of “faith in the vision of people.”  He spoke briefly about the discovery of oil and that people in the Titusville area were the first to drill for oil. He referenced them as “shooting the well,” referring to how the men would drill a hole, insert chemicals and a blasting cap and then “go like the devil,” referring to how they ran to escape injury.

The drilling now starting in the state “can bring new jobs,” he said, adding it can make the state “energy-independent,” but stressed that we need “to protect our environment” at the same time.

For more on Drake’s first well, and the Western Pennsylvania oil boom it kicked off, check out this excerpt from the PBS documentary “The Prize.” (The Drake segment begins around 7 minutes in.)

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