Voices from the Shale covers issues related to hydraulic fracturing for shale gas. Founder Mike Benard is a former gas leaseholder in Pennsylvania who fought a two-year eminent domain legal battle launched by Spectra Energy of Houston, Texas, which was backed in its “taking” of property rights by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
From this conflict Voices from the Shale emerged, and Benard has developed contacts that range from the industry to regulatory agencies, private property owners, and NGOs (non-governmental organizations).
Some say the benefits of shale gas extraction outweigh the risks – a discussion where it is important to separate promises from actual track records.
Shale gas extraction raises substantial environmental questions; concerns about the industrialization of urban, suburban & rural communities (yes, the industry drills everywhere); and brings with it eminent domain, the legal “taking” of property rights for transmission pipelines and underground natural gas storage facilities.
A lack of responsiveness and transparency from industry & government has led citizens in many states to form their own ‘neighborhood watch’ groups – citizen regulators if you will – to protect property and property value as well as health and the environment.