The pace of development of shale gas plays varies greatly among US states and globally. Through analysis of telephone survey responses, we explore support for natural gas drilling in residents of Washington County (WC), PA (n=502) vs. residents of Allegheny County (AC), PA (n=799). WC has had intense Marcellus Shale (MS) drilling activity, in comparison to adjacent AC, which has had little drilling activity.
WC residents are marginally more supportive of MS drilling than are AC residents (p=0.0768). Residents of WC are more likely to perceive MS as an economic opportunity than are AC residents (p=0.0015); to be in a family that has signed a MS lease (p<0.0001); to follow the MS issue closely (p=0.0003); to get MS information from neighbors, friends, and relatives (p<0.0001); and are marginally less likely to perceive MS as an environmental threat (p=0.1090). WC leaseholders are significantly more supportive of MS drilling than WC non-leaseholders and AC non-leaseholders (p=0.0024). Mediation analyses show that county-based differences in support of MS drilling are due to WC residents seeing more of an economic opportunity in the MS and their greater likelihood of having a family-held lease.