Pennsylvania

Energy. Environment. Economy.

Gas industry hopes to score points with Super Bowl ads

How hot is shale gas? Hot enough to warrant ad buys during the Super Bowl on Sunday. The American Petroleum Institute has purchased local ad time during the big game in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Colorado, touting the benefits of shale gas development. National advertisers are spending $4.5 million for 30 seconds of air time during Super Bowl XLIX. The local runs are a lot cheaper, but still pretty steep compared to regular rates. API wouldn’t disclose the price tag. Nor would NBC 10. But a media buyer in Philadelphia says the offer for Super Bowl time was $150,000 for 30 seconds two weeks ago. That’s a lot of money compared to the cost of a typical local ad during Monday Night Football, which can run between $35,000 and $40,000. And Temple University says it spent about tens of thousands of dollars for its local ad time during Sunday’s game.

API’s new campaign, “Energy from Shale,” focuses on local community benefits, and features the experiences of local residents.

So in addition to watching a puppy get saved from a big bad wolf by a bunch of horses, or learning how masculinity means giving your kid a bath, Super Bowl watchers in parts of Pennsylvania will be hearing from Washington, Pa. restaurant owner Laura Ross talk about the benefits of fracking for her small town.

The ads don’t shy away from the use of fracking, a word most often used by drilling opponents to loosely mean anything associated with the entire process of unconventional natural gas drilling. Industry typically sticks with a very technical definition of fracking — or hydraulic fracturing — which accounts for a relatively short part of the production process. The ads make the claim that fracking has been occurring safely for 65 years. But large scale hydraulic fracturing combined with horizontal drilling to tap shale formations like the Marcellus began in Pennsylvania about ten years ago. Since then, dozens of studies have raised concerns about both short-term and longterm impacts of shale gas drilling on water and air. And Pennsylvania’s environmental regulators have issued dozens of fines, some in the millions of dollars, to drillers who damaged waterways, land and air.

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