The lead author of the June US Geological Survey study, Robert Milici, said he did not know if there was a lot of gas in the Hartford Basin, and no one will until it is explored.
“I can’t say if there is a lot of gas or little gas,” Milici said. “We really won’t know unless industry becomes interested . . . maybe when gas prices are a bit higher.”
State officials said they would ensure any new energy extraction would not harm the environment.
“We are not aware of any commercially viable deposits in Massachusetts. . . . If there were to be any deposits confirmed in the Commonwealth, we would need to take a close look at their impacts on the environment and public health,’’ said Krista Selmi, spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. “Any effort to perform fracking in Massachusetts would have to be done in a way that does not put our water supplies at risk.”
The American Ground Water Trust says on its website that it “is in favor of developing energy resources, provided water resources are not jeopardized.” Stone said that his nonprofit generates money mostly from registration fees from putting on events and conducted a fracking seminar in North Carolina and is holding one in Texas in March.
Stone said the group does not pay speakers and invites environmentalists to make presentations at conferences. While companies can sponsor the group’s events, Stone said, there are no sponsors for Thursday’s seminar. About 50 people registered for the event.
“We believe this will be educational,” Stone said.
Environmentalists were either surprised to learn of the seminar or expressed doubt fracking would come to Western Massachusetts. Shanna Cleveland, a Conservation Law Foundation attorney, said regulations should be developed only if it is clear fracking could take place in Massachusetts.
Beth Daley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.