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Shale Gas Industry Hoping for Statewide Regulations in 2012

The leader of the Marcellus Shale Coalition said that the past year was a mixed bag for Pennsylvania's shale gas industry, and she expects more of the same next year.

Coalition President Kathryn Klaber said that the industry added 200,000 new jobs in Pennsylvania in 2011, and expanded shale gas infrastructure across the state. However, she said that she's disappointed that the legislature didn't pass a set of statewide laws to regulate industry practices.

"I think it's in the best interest of all stakeholders to have closure on those bills," said Klaber. "The longer we have uncertainty as an industry, the less we're able to focus on the business at hand."

Klaber said that she's hopeful that next year will bring passage of laws to normalize gas infrastructure zoning laws through all of Pennsylvania's municipalities, many of which have passed their own zoning laws that geographically limit or outright ban Marcellus Shale well pads and other equipment.

2012 begins at a time when natural gas prices are at an all-time low, said Klaber, which is a challenge for the industry, but good news for consumers.

"We expect, in 2012, those low gas prices to result in additional electricity generation using natural gas, hopefully some big, important decisions for various fleet operators, to convert fleets to natural gas," said Klaber.

All in all, the MSC chief said that 2012 is "not a perfectly rosy picture," but she said that she's confident that the industry will continue to grow.