In the past several years, ancient organic matter trapped more than a mile beneath the surface of the earth has changed life in Greater Pittsburgh.
The vast deposits of natural gas deep in rock are known collectively as the Marcellus Shale. The Marcellus has softened the Great Recession and brought a cash infusion to previously strapped landowners. It has heightened awareness and concern about the value and the safety of our region’s water supplies. And it has ignited a debate about how best to profit from, protect against, and prepare for an energy source that promises to change the nature of commerce and culture in our region. What follows are the faces of some of the stakeholders in this transformative issue.