Marcellus shale gas drilling won't ever be as devastating to the environment as coal-fired power plants have been, said John Hanger, former secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection.
In a talk given at Ligonier's Town Hall on Tuesday night, Hanger presented to a crowd of about 100 people the pros and cons of extracting the estimated 168 trillion to 516 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the rock formation.
The presentation, organized by the Laurel Highlands Energy Awareness Project, was sponsored by the Loyalhanna Watershed Association and Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
Hanger compared energy generated with natural gas to energy generated by oil and coal, and said that the less reliant the country becomes on the latter the better.
"If you say yes to gas that means less coal and oil," he said. "If you say no to gas, you're saying yes to coal and oil, at least for the next five to 10 years."