Shale Drilling

The Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative (MSSRC) brings the Fiscal Policy Institute together with independent, nonpartisan research and policy organizations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia to monitor shale-related employment trends, related tax policy and economic development issues, and the community impacts of energy extraction in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations. Information about the MSSRC and its work, and additional information on the fiscal, economic and social impacts of shale drilling, are available on the Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative website (

In December 2014, the New York State Department of Health released the results of its comprehensive review of the public health research on high volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF). This report, “A Public Health Review of High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing for Shale Gas Development,” concluded that HVHF should not proceed in New York State. In the cover letter transmitting this report to NYS Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens, the then Acting Commissioner of Health, Howard A. Zucker, wrote: “As with most complex human activities in modern societies, absolute scientific certainty regarding the relative contributions of positive and negative impacts of HVHF [high volume hydraulic fracturing] on public health is unlikely to ever be attained. In this instance, however, the overall weight of the evidence from the cumulative body of information contained in this Public Health Review demonstrates that there are significant uncertainties about the kinds of adverse health outcomes that may be associated with HVHF, the likelihood of the occurrence of adverse health outcomes, and the effectiveness of some of the mitigation measures in reducing or preventing environmental impacts which could adversely affect public health. Until the science provides sufficient information to determine the level of risk to public health from HVHF to all New Yorkers and whether the risks can be adequately managed, DOH recommends that HVHF should not proceed in NYS.”

In May 2015 the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) completed its review of high volume hydraulic fracturing and issued a Final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement. On June 29, 2015, DEC issued a State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) Findings Statement that concluded DEC’s comprehensive, seven-year review of HVHF and officially prohibited HVHF in New York State.

Shale Researchers Release Local Government Handbook and State Policy Report Card

July 5, 2016.  Last week, the Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia organizations that are part of the Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative (MSSRC), released two new reports: a handbook for local officials entitled Lessons from the Gas Patch: A Local Government Guide for Dealing with Drilling; and A Report Card on Shale Gas Policies in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

The new reports build upon

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The Shale Tipping Point: The Relationship of Shale Drilling to Crime, Traffic Fatalities, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, and Rents in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio

December 14, 2014. A report completed by a research team of the Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative found a clear relationship between the density of shale well drilling activity and increases in crime, rents, traffic fatalities and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). These key “quality of life” issues had been identified in prior work by the Collaborative and in the work of others as having a potential relationship with intensive extractive industry “booms.”

To examine this relationship, the Pennsylvania research team divided … (read more)

Case Studies Examine Shale Drilling’s Mixed Legacy

April 11, 2014.  New case studies of the impact of shale gas drilling in Carroll County, Ohio; Greene and Tioga counties in Pennsylvania; and Wetzel County, West Virginia, provide numerous cautionary tales for New York as it considers whether or not to allow Horizontal Drilling and High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing in the Marcellus Shale and Other Low-Permeability Gas Reservoirs.

The case studies, which were completed by the Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia organizations that are part of the Multi-State (read more)

New Report Examines Shale Drilling Impact

November 21, 2013. Drilling in the six states that span the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations has produced far fewer new jobs than the industry and its supporters claim, according to a report by the Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative, a group of research organizations tracking the impacts of shale drilling that includes the Fiscal Policy Institute.

The Marcellus and Utica shale formations span six states: New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia. Natural gas development in these … (read more)