It appears that the soaring increase in the drilling activity of the natural gas industry has leveled off in at least parts of our region.
Officials quoted in a Sun-Gazette story last week said as much, with Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce Vincent J. Matteo estimating there could be as much as a 30-percent reduction in the amount of drilling in the area in the next year.
A lot of market forces are contributing to the slowdown, including a glut of supply and a mild winter that have combined to lower prices and put a squeeze on the gas industry.
Some of the natural gas companies have shifted their focus and efforts to "wet gas," which is priced higher and more prevalent in southwestern Pennsylvania.
Beyond that, there was probably no way that the gas industry could maintain the feverish ramping up in drilling activity of the past few years.
The state Department of Environmental Protection issued 254 drilling permits in Lycoming County in 2010 and that increased to 469 permits in 2011.
From January to February in 2011, there were 98 permits issued.
During the same period this year, 54 permits were issued.
For those who were worried about the impact of drilling activity on traffic, infrastructure and the environment, this scaling down in drilling activity actually is a good thing.
For those who wish the gas drilling boom would just go away, don't count on it.
The companies are still building compressor stations, putting in pipelines and extending gathering systems in conjunction with future drilling prospects.
They wouldn't be doing that if they were planning to pull up stakes.
Most importantly, those who advocate exorbitant taxing of the gas industry need to pay attention to how prone the industry is to market forces and how quickly it can change game plans and destinations.