Boom and Bust in Pittsburgh Natural Gas History: Development, Policy, and Environmental Effects, 1878–1920


Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania have a rich energy history focused on the development and utilization of the resources of coal, oil, and natural gas. Within the last ten years the region has experienced a boom in natural gas production from the Marcellus Shale deposit that extends throughout the state. The drivers of this boom have been a rise in gas prices and the application of the technology of hydraulic fracking (nonconventional horizontal drilling). Thousands of wells have been drilled throughout Pennsylvania, and thousands more are projected. Extensive discussions are taking place in the state about controversial issues such as regulatory policy, extent of drilling, duration of supply, and environmental impacts.