2016 Fall

Pittsburgh Quarterly Archives
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Seamus McGraw

Seamus McGraw

Seamus is a regular contributor to many publications including Court TV’s Crime Library, Penthouse, Reader’s Digest, Stuff magazine, Spin and The Forward. He has won a number of journalism awards and is currently working on a comic novel set in Pennsylvania’s coal country. He lives in the woods of northeastern Pennsylvania with his wife, Kren, and four children, Miriam, Yona, Seneca and Liam.

Boom and Bust

All over rural pennsylvania, motel parking lots, which just a couple of years ago were teeming with lumbering pickup trucks with out-​of-​state plates, are nearly empty. So are the hastily constructed “man camps” that not so long ago provided temporary shelter for roughnecks and roustabouts. So are the breakfast joints where they used…

The New Marcellus Debate

It has become the new flash point in the battle over the development of the Marcellus, with advocates for development facing off against opponents, not in remote fields in rural Pennsylvania, but all over the region. And it’s not just about drilling anymore.

Marcellus Shale: A Tricky Situation

For years, it’s been a common rallying cry among activists that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has coddled its burgeoning natural gas industry at the expense of other state priorities. Perhaps nothing, they contend, has been more emblematic of that cozy relationship than the fact that Pennsylvania is the only active drilling state in…

Which Came First?

It is almost invisible now, a ghost of a building squatting in the shade of looming hemlocks at the edge of the highway. Though it’s now rundown and overgrown, the brooding brilliance of the place endures. You still can see its crisp, horizontal lines formed by the distinctive, rough-​hewn rocks, laid by hand…

The battle for cleaner energy

For two days this past summer, the streets around the William S. Moorhead Federal Building, downtown, were ringed with cops and jammed with largely orderly protestors, some in camouflage, others in tie-​dyed T-​shirts. They were drawn, as they had been at other cities around the country, to make their voices heard on the…

The export dilemma

As the Shale-​driven production of natural gas has expanded in recent years, so too has the demand from much of the industry to unleash that resource on the world market. And that chorus of voices calling for the United States to use gas from fields like the Marcellus to tap into the world…

Does this change everything?

It’s been nearly six months since the state Supreme Court rocked Pennsylvania by striking down key portions of Act 13, Gov. Corbett’s signature legislation on Marcellus Shale drilling.

The royalty rub

When Mary Jane Foelster and her husband, Richard, retired five years ago and left Philadelphia for a secluded 50-​acre tract of land in Bradford County, they never figured they’d get rich.

Gauging the second term

For months last year, as the campaign for the White House shifted into high gear, opponents of President Obama tried to paint his first-​term administration as hostile to the development of domestic fossil fuels, including the vast natural gas resources contained in the Marcellus and Utica shales, as well as other unconventional shale…

The Marcellus Shale dilemma

A blistering July — the hottest on record — vaporized heat records in thousands of communities across the country. A historic and prolonged drought settled across a vast swath of the southern and central United States, devastating corn crops and threatening to send the cost of everything that depends on it — from baby food to burgers to the…
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