Episode 194: Were there ever natural gas wells within the city of Pittsburgh’s boundaries?

Have you ever wondered if there were ever natural gas wells within the city of Pittsburgh’s boundaries? On this week’s Energy Bite, Joel Tarr, a professor of Carnegie Mellon University has some answers.

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HOST: Have you ever wondered if there were ever natural gas wells within the city of Pittsburgh’s boundaries? On this week’s Energy Bite, Joel Tarr, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, has some answers.

JOEL: Today, natural gas wells are forbidden within the city of Pittsburgh, but back in the 1880s, dozens of them existed. The initial ones dug were in the East End. In 1918, faced by a fuel shortage, Carnegie Institute of Technology – what is now known as Carnegie Mellon University – dug a natural gas well on its campus. The gas supply, however, was exhausted by 1922.

HOST: Why are cities attempting to limit natural gas wells within their boundaries?

JOEL: Communities are concerned with the environmental damage, noise pollution and possible health problems created by natural gas drilling and operation. When communities and natural gas drilling operations merge, it creates a sort of industrial district. The ability of communities to keep hydraulic fracturing outside of their borders has been a controversial issue. One year ago, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided that zoning could be used to prevent drilling.

HOST: Would a natural gas well near your office influence your decision to work there? Take our poll, see the results, and ask your energy questions at Energy Bite dot org.

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