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Debate Over Fracking Continues In Pennsylvania

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(Protesters rally outside a shale gas conference taking place in the Pennsylvania Convention Center.  Credit: John McDevitt)

(Protesters rally outside a shale gas conference taking place in the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Credit: John McDevitt)

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By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Pennsylvania remains at the center of the raging debate over fracking, the hydro-fracturing techniques to get at natural gas locked in shale.

An awaited Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision will play a huge role.

The communities that welcome shale gas drilling won’t be affected much if the High Court overturns last year’s Act 13, which bans the ability of local zoning boards to prevent it.

Deborah Goldberg, of the environmental law group Earthjustice, says it’s not just the wells, but traffic, noise and 24/7 light.

“Some folks really don’t want to have their communities industrialized in this way. Some communities don’t care, so long as they get the money,” says Goldberg.

The pro-fracking documentary, Frack Nation, says inflated fears and misinformation have prompted communities to overrule property owners who would welcome drilling, perhaps to keep a family farm afloat.

AP estimates Pennsylvania gas royalties at $1.2 billion for 2012 and the industry says abundant shale gas pushes prices down.

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