Pennsylvania grand jury report into natural gas drilling set for release

“We are in the first stages of a long process to hold the well-connected accountable."

(Harrisburg) —  The results of a grand jury investigation into Pennsylvania’s large natural gas drilling industry will be made public on Thursday morning in Harrisburg.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro will release the jury’s report during a news conference at his agency’s headquarters near the Capitol.

A grand jury in Pittsburgh has been conducting an investigation into the state’s Marcellus Shale gas drilling industry for about two years.

“This is just the beginning,” Shapiro said in a news release regarding no-contest pleas to environmental crimes by a driller two weeks ago. “We are in the first stages of a long process to hold the well-connected accountable and meet the promise of our constitution to protect our environment for generations to come.”

On June 15, the Democratic prosecutor said the grand jury’s ongoing probe “will result in more criminal charges.”

Hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as fracking, involves injecting millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals miles into the earth to break up layers of shale, causing oil or gas to be released. Fracking — and horizontal drilling techniques — have produced massive amounts of natural gas and oil in the U.S. over the past decade or so.

The industry has brought lower natural gas prices for consumers, jobs and royalties to Pennsylvania, but it has also generated concerns about the effect the fracking process has had on the state’s environmental quality.

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