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Data is sourced from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Map is designed to illustrate which counties in Pennsylvania are predicted to experience the highest amount of oil and natural gas drilling activity. In order to create the HotSpot analysis, permits for only new (not renewed) Marcellus wells approved between April 1 - September 30, 2011 were downloaded and joined with records of actual wells drilled between that time. Any permits with wells already drilled were removed, thus leaving all permits yet to be drilled as of September 30, 2011. Analyzing past year's permit and well reports revealed that, as a whole, the majority of permits are drilled within six months of issue.
SkyTruth used this model as a basis to locate the most heavily permitted, and thus the most future drilled, watersheds in the PA Marcellus shale region.
The year 2005 is used as a baseline as this period represents the beginning of widespread natural gas drilling in the Marcellus shale formation which underscores much of Pennsylvania.