The fracking controversy has lighten-up dramatically in Pennsylvania over the last few years. At last year’s conference, natural gas drillers were “greeted by a crowd of protesters,” according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Today, the Marcellus Shale Coalition gets a warm welcome from Gov. Tom Corbett.

This doesn’t mean the fight is over. Anti-fracking activists gathered together to hold signs and declare that fracking continues polluted the air and waterways. However, the crowd was much lower this year compared to last year. Anti-fracking activists continue to decrease; however, their presence continues to increase the need for tightened fracking regulations. Corbett and other speakers acknowledged the heighten importance of fracking safety.

“We are advancing, even in the face of unreasoning opposition,” Corbett told the ballroom crowd of industry representatives. “Our opponents agree that we can land a rover on Mars, but they can’t bring themselves to think that we can safely drill a mile into our own soil.”

Corbett continues, “In addition to the tens of thousands of jobs, I’m here to say thank you, thank you to the industry that has added another $200 million to the common good.”

Corbett addressed the benefits of natural gas, reinforcing job creation. He said, in the future we’ll be filling up our cars with natural gas from a turnpike fueling station. Natural gas will be extremely affordable because of the domestic capabilities to extract shale gas.

“Five, 10 years ago, if I told you that the U.S. was considering a petrochemical investment, an ethylene cracker, I would have been laughed off the stage,” said Martha Gilchrist Moore, a senior director with the American Chemistry Council.

While fracking improvements and possibilities remain strong, the fracking controversy holds on too. Some activists still believe we’re not getting the “whole story.” David Masur, executive director of the group PennEnvironment said, “If you’re going to be out there touting it as clean-burning, you’re not telling the whole story.”

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