The Shale Tipping Point: The Relationship of Drilling to Crime, Truck Fatalities, STDs, and Rents in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio

How does hydro-fracking affect the rural communities at the epicenter of drilling activity? A rich body of literature on the human impacts and lore exists from the Mountain West: of boomtowns and bar fights, and rising rents and rising crime that accompanied oil and gas development in Wyoming and Colorado in the 1980s and 1990s, and more recently in North Dakota shale oil fields.

Considerable evidence indicates that shale development has followed a similar trajectory in Pennsylvania. Work from academic researchers and advocacy groups such as Food and Water Watch, and our own indepth examination of two high-intensity Pennsylvania drilling counties (Greene and Tioga) document increased traffic, damaged roads, rising rents, and intensified demands on police and local first responders.

These impacts are in addition to the growing environmental and public health impacts associated with hydro-fracking, from greater incidence of childhood asthma in Texas, to water contamination in Pennsylvania, to seismic activity in Ohio and Oklahoma.

In many states, regulation of drilling activity is controlled by state officials, leaving local officials with few options except to manage the consequences. A better understanding of the nature and timing of likely impacts can help local governments and residents anticipate, plan for, or avoid the inevitable negative consequences of shale development.

In this report, the Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative examined potential shale-related impacts identified in our prior work and that of others to further identify impacts and determine at what point their effects became evident. We looked at three states: Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, dividing drilling counties in those states into three groups based on the level of drilling activity in order to better
understand the relationship between the density of drilling and the severity of impacts.

To continue reading the executive summary, click here.

To read an abridged version of the report, click here.

To read the full report, click here.

To read the press release on the report click here.

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