The results of a grand jury investigation into Pennsylvania’s large natural gas drilling industry will be made public Thursday, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced.
Shapiro said he will release the report from a grand jury that has investigated the state’s Marcellus Shale exploration industry for about two years.
Earlier this month, Shapiro, a Democrat, announced a deal with Range Resources Corp., Pennsylvania’s most active shale gas driller, to plead no contest to environmental crimes over its handling of contamination at a pair of well sites in the southwestern part of the state.
Last week, Shapiro’s office filed felony charges against Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. and accused it of polluting residential water wells in a northern Pennsylvania communities. Shapiro also said the grand jury’s probe “will result in more criminal charges.”
Hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as fracking, involves injecting millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals miles into the earth to break up layers of shale, causing oil or gas to be released. Fracking — and horizontal drilling techniques — have produced massive amounts of natural gas and oil in the U.S. over the past decade or so.
The industry has brought lower natural gas prices for consumers, jobs and royalties to Pennsylvania, but it has also generated concerns about the effect the fracking process has had on the state’s environmental quality.