An interfaith group of religious organizations held a rally at the state Capitol Monday, calling on Governor Tom Wolf to halt natural gas development. About 50 people attended the event and asked the governor for what they called a “moral-torium” on unconventional gas development and related infrastructure, such as pipelines.

“We are calling on our legislators to listen to science and protect public health,” says Rev. Dr. Leah Schade of the United in Christ Lutheran Church in Lewisburg. “This is one area where science and religion are actually in agreement.”

She pointed to climate-damaging methane emissions and water contamination from the drilling boom.

At the same time, the House Democratic Policy Committee was meeting in another part of the Capitol to discuss whether the state should be incentivizing the use of natural gas.

“There’s a difference between whether natural gas production is good and whether it should be incentivized by the state,” says Rep. Greg Vitali (D- Delaware), who hosted the hearing.

The hearing’s panelists included members of the Wolf administration in the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), as well as climate scientists and representatives from environmental groups. Vitali invited the Pennsylvania utility UGI and the gas trade group the Marcellus Shale Coalition to testify, but he says both declined.

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This story comes from our content partner StateImpact Pennsylvania, a collaboration between WITF and WHYY covering the fiscal and environmental impact of Pennsylvania’s booming energy economy.