Shale gas advocates to hold rally in Harrisburg next week

  • Marie Cusick
Test technicians Charles Young and Ethan Eckard use joysticks and touch screens to operate a Schramm drilling rig in West Chester, Pa. The oil and gas industry provides approximately 30,000 direct jobs in Pennsylvania.

Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY

Test technicians operate a Schramm drilling rig in West Chester, Pa. The oil and gas industry provides approximately 30,000 direct jobs in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania’s main gas industry trade group, the Marcellus Shale Coalition, is organizing a major rally at the state Capitol next week.
The MSC is busing in supporters from across the state on Tuesday, May 6th. The group is expecting between 2,500 to 3,000 participants.
“There are folks all across this Commonwealth that want to stand up and be heard on shale gas development,” says MSC president David Spigelmyer. “We really haven’t had the outlet for them to participate what’s going on.”
Although the rally will take place in Harrisburg, Spigelmyer says it won’t be focused on weighing in on policy issues– like severance tax proposals.
“That is not part of our agenda,” he says. “This is really a celebration of the jobs that have been generated and the partnerships that have been generated.”
At least one environmental organization is planning a counter-rally.
The Keystone Trails Association will gather supporters together at the corner of Walnut and Front Streets in downtown Harrisburg.
“We just want people to understand not everyone in Pennsylvania is supportive of fracking,” says the group’s executive director, Curt Ashenfelter. “We have numerous concerns–overzealous security guards chasing hikers off of hiking trails, compressor stations, and pollution of streams.”
The MSC rally begins at 10 a.m. at Metro Bank Park on Harrisburg’s City Island and will be followed by a march to the steps of the state Capitol.

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