Ex-DEP chief says gas concerns must be weighed

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- Sound decisions about how to proceed with gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale can't be made without looking at how they might fit with other energy choices in a time of growing demand, Pennsylvania's former environmental protection secretary said.

John Hanger led the Department of Environmental Protection under former Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell. He said the commonwealth has been at the forefront of shale gas development, and can both produce gas and protect the environment.

Speaking at a lecture Monday at Penn State University, Hanger said "there are clearly impacts from gas and gas production." Environmental concerns include air emissions, methane leakage and gas migration, he said.

The Centre Daily Times http://bit.ly/nISNOw reported that Hanger said there was a difference, though, between gas migration and fluids used in the process called fracturing returning to groundwater tables. He cited researchers who found the latter hasn't happened.

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