Pennsylvania

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Is Pittsburgh’s Fracking Ban Hurting Business?

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Hydraulic fracturing is banned within Pittsburgh city limits

The Post-Gazette reports a Pittsburgh developer wants to build a $238 million skyscraper, but is having a hard time finding an anchor tenant.

A big energy company would be a logical choice, given Pennsylvania’s natural gas boom. But developer Steve Guy says the industry is turned off by the city’s ban on hydraulic fracturing:

Mr. Guy said Oxford also has spoken to “numerous” energy companies about potentially locating in the tower, although he would not name which ones. Both Chevron and Shell Oil Co. are looking for more space in the region and are said to be considering Downtown among their options.

However, Mr. Guy said the city’s ban on natural gas drilling, enacted by city council in 2010, has become an “issue” in those talks.

“It comes up at the commencement of every discussion with energy companies,” Mr. Guy said. “The energy companies have just simply said we’re not doing business in the city.

“We have to work through it, actually, because there’s nothing we can do about it.”

As our favorite Pennsylvania political blog, Early Returns, points out, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl had previously voiced concern the ban would curb drillers’ enthusiasm for opening office space in Pittsburgh.

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