Gas Task Force Hears Of Job Training, Local Stream Monitoring

Potter County Today

A wide variety of information was presented at the September meeting of the Potter County Natural Gas Task Force. The organization was formed last year by Potter County Commissioners Doug Morley, Paul Heimel and Susan Kefover in response to the impending growth of the natural gas industry in the region. The task force includes representatives of the energy industry, environmental organizations, local government,  small business, state and county agencies, public education, agriculture, land services,  and other sectors. Meetings are held bimonthly and are open to the public. More information on the Task Force and the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry is available on the county’s website by clicking here.  Following is a summary of some of the reports presented at the September meeting:

  • Trout Unlimited representative Bob Volkmar said training of volunteer water monitors continues. They’ll be checking streams and rivers for any potential degradation due to natural gas drilling or other causes. Headwaters Resource Conservation and Development Council is supporting the monitoring system in Potter, Cameron, McKean, Elk and Jefferson counties. First phase is to establish a baseline of water conditions coldwater streams, which is now underway.
  • Potter County Planning Director Charlotte Dietrich announced that a meeting will be held on Oct. 21 to share information with municipal officials about road bonding, maintenance agreements, overweight vehicles and related topics. Each township and borough will have one-on-one time with LTAP and PennDOT officials and receive a booklet with sample ordinances and other information. Similar topics will be addressed at the Sept. 25 Potter County Association of Township Officials annual convention.
  • Bob Veilleux, from Penn State Cooperative Extension and the Potter County Education Council, reported on training sessions coming up at the Vo-Tech School in Port Allegany for anyone interested in gas industry employment, from welding and truck driving, to rig work and related jobs in the field. He said there has been a high level of interest in training classes that have already been held. Veilleux also discussed other partnerships involving education providers and the gas industry to prepare local residents for employment and he distributed information on area pipeline projects.
  • Amy Thompson announced the Oct. 1 visit of the Mobile Energy Education Training Unit (MEET-U) trailer to Coudersport  She said there is a need to educate school students and others on natural gas and other energy issues, since misinformation continues to circulate.
  • Mary Jo Shaub discussed the state-sponsored broadband outreach program. It’s an effort to bring high-speed data/internet capacity across the state, including rural areas, in partnership with private providers. It is being coordinated locally by the Potter County Education Council.
  • John McLaughlin reported on two scheduled water quality workshops: Oct. 14, Brian Swistock, Cooperative Extension, Natural Gas Expo, St. Marys, 3-5 pm; Oct. 19, Jim Clark, Cooperative Extension, 6:30 pm to 8 pm, Galeton Senior Center.
  • Lucinda Weakland from the Potter County Emergency Management Agency presented a summary of upcoming training for first responders, dealing with well site emergencies and related incidents and actions (see scheduled below). She said there is a wealth of preparedness material available through the internet and offered her agency’s assistance for emergency service agencies, schools and others interested in learning more.

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