There's been an unmistakable slowdown in gas drilling activity in Lycoming County and the region this year.
But that observation and generally conceded point in Sun-Gazette stories in Sunday's edition needs to be followed by a number of caveats.
The natural gas drilling business is generally cyclical and "wet" gas in Ohio, West Virginia and southwest Pennsylvania is currently enjoying a big share of the market.
Lycoming County has more gas rigs operating than any place in the state.
By any measure, natural gas is the least expensive gas on the market.
Those points are the reasons one business leader said the industry will have a life of 50 years in our region.
We suspect given their track record that the natural gas leaders who invested millions of dollars in development well sites in our region didn't do so only to leave them permanently idle.
What this cyclical trend is a reminder of is the very real fact that these companies, no matter how successful, are not immune to business circumstances.
And that means allowing them to operate like any other business rather than punishing them with overregulation and excess fees is not the most prudent course.
Regulate them? Certainly.
Strangle them with needless regulation? That is not wise.
Attach a fee to their production? Certainly.
Make that fee excessive beyond what others in the energy industry pay for their activity? That only makes it more likely that the full economic benefits from the industry won't be realized.
And we doubt anyone but the most unrelenting opponents of the industry wishes that for the region.