"On a sunny fall morning, Kevin Hollinrake stands with a group of parents across a road from a gas processing plant in Butler County. Trucks come and go as workers hustle to put together the Bluestone Processing Plant, which will prepare gas from locally drilled wells for market. Hollinrake is a member of the British Parliament and a Conservative from a district in northern England. A company has applied to frack for natural gas in his district. Hollinrake has come to Pennsylvania—where more than 8,000 wells have been drilled since 2008—to see the fracking process firsthand. The parents tell him about the smells they say emanate from the plant. They’re standing in the driveway of a suburban-style house that’s now right across the street from what is essentially a small refinery. (The plant is also near a landfill.) One parent, Amy Nassif, asks where he would put a plant like this in his country. “I have no idea," he says with a chuckle. "Not near my house.”
Hollinrake is the latest European to look to Pennsylvania as an example of what works and what doesn’t in hydraulic fracturing. More than 40 countries around the world have shale gas deposits. But
many countries, especially in Europe, are approaching hydraulic
fracturing with ambivalence. Right now, the United Kingdom is debating whether to allow fracking. Hollinrake says he came to Pennsylvania to get a full-spectrum view of what it’s like to live in a fracking area. “We've tried to see the worst of it, as well as hear the best of it,”
he says. “And I think in Pennsylvania, you've seen certainly the worst
of it.” He started his trip in Dimock, the town where a state investigation found more than a dozen water wells were contaminated from gas drilling."