A meeting on Marcellus Shale drilling turns raucous

Busloads of activists - both for and against drilling for natural gas in Pennsylvania - converged on the Delaware River Basin Commission Wednesday to plead their cases.

Heckling and jeering characterized three hours of public comment, with so many people attending that the meeting was moved from commission headquarters in West Trenton to a nearby fire hall.

Even then, the crowd exceeded the room's 400-person capacity, and about 165 people had to wait outside.

Many had driven several hours from northeastern Pennsylvania, where contention about drilling for natural gas in the productive Marcellus Shale geologic formation has polarized residents.

While drilling is moving forward elsewhere - the state has issued nearly 1,500 Marcellus permits this year - the commission has effectively halted most drilling in the sprawling river basin by deciding that regulations specific to natural-gas activities must be developed first.

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