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News Series Entry: Drilling's Impact

Written by Tim Lambert, witf Multimedia News Director | Feb 4, 2013 6:41 PM

StateImpact Pennsylvania is a collaborative project among witf in Harrisburg, WHYY in Philadelphia and NPR to cover Pennsylvania’s booming energy economy. The initiative seeks to inform and engage the public on energy issues through data analysis, accountability reporting and well-crafted broadcast and digital narratives. WHYY and witf maintain complete editorial control over the content.

It's goal is to explain the state's complex natural gas drilling boom to listeners. In 2012, that meant breaking news about problems occuring at and near drilling sites, but also profiling the people who live in communities affected by drilling, and explaining how low natural gas prices would affect the economy.

Story 1:

Doctors in heavily drilled areas across Pennsylvania are starting to see more patients who report symptoms they think might be related to gas activity.  But with all the talk about health concerns and Marcellus Shale, what are the links between the two? And where does a doctor turn for answers? StateImpact Pennsylvania reporter Susan Phillips spoke to several doctors who expressed frustration with trying to treat suspected shale related health impacts. This is the story of one such doctor’s quest for solid information on how to help her patients.


Story 2:

In June, StateImpact Pennsylvania's Scott Detrow broke the news about a mysterious accident at a northern Pennsylvania drilling site. When it became clear the problem had been caused by the intersection of a Marcellus Shale well and a gas well drilled in the 1930s, he decided to figure out how many other abandoned drilling sites were dotting the state. The answer: more than 200,000.

Story 3:

Natural gas drilling has turned some quiet rural areas of Pennsylvania into growing industrial zones. Residents complain of increased truck traffic, bad air, and contaminated well water. Some of those residents have turned to activism. Others have filed lawsuits. But as StateImpact Pennsylvania's Susan Phillips reports, a growing number of Pennsylvania residents living near Marcellus Shale sites are also packing up their bags and moving. 


Story 4

The Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling industry in Pennsylvania has had an effect on many small communities. StateImpact Pennsylvania reporter Scott Detrow visits one of the towns that's been at the center of the  boom --Towanda, Bradford County.

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