Natural Gas Impact Workshop Series To Kick Off In Coudersport

From Potter County Today

forestdrillingPotter County is the kick-off point for a series of six workshops being held across the state to help local government officials and community leaders deal with the impacts of drilling and extraction of natural gas from shale formations found deep under the ground. Three experts in community impacts and planning options will be featured speakers for the workshop to be held on Monday, June 6, at 6 pm at the F. W. Gunzburger County Office Building in Coudersport. There is a $50 fee which covers tuition, materials and refreshments. Advance registrations are preferred and are being taken online here. Attendees may also register at the door. More information is available from Kelly Lougee at 717-763-0930. Registration opens at 5:30.

It’s titled, “Planning To Manage Secondary Impacts of Natural Gas Development,” and the content is geared toward those who can exercise control over those impacts. According to the organizers, “Local officials need to be ready to manage the secondary impacts of drilling, which begins with a clear understanding of what is happening, or could happen, in your community. It is vital that governments think and work proactively to address these impacts, rather than simply waiting for them to happen. Understanding demands that will be placed on township or borough services is key. These include: sewage permitting for ‘man camps’ and new housing; reuse of vacant land and commercial or industrial buildings for natural gas support services; drilling pads and staging areas which need to operate 24/7 with extensive lighting and outdoor storage; high volumes of heavy truck and vehicle trips; road improvements and repair; increased police and emergency management services; and use of existing water mains, wastewater treatment plants and sewer line infrastructure.”

Monday’s workshop will provide suggested tools to manage these impacts, including community visioning programs, county and multi-community collaboration projects, state agency support, negotiation of plan and permit approval conditions to mitigate adverse impacts, and conflict/dispute resolution. Samples of comprehensive plans, flood plain management ordinances and a voluntary community character design guide will be distributed.

Instructors are Dr. Tim Kelsey, an expert in economic and community development at Penn State; Jerry Walls, who served as a county planner for many years and is now a consultant; and Dr. Jason Weigle, leader of the Marcellus Shale Community Education Team at Mansfield University and a member of the Pine Creek Watershed Council. The series continues in St. Marys (June 7), Phillipsburg (June 8), DuBois (June 9), Somerset (June 28) and Washington (June 29).

Potter County Today is a timely information site courtesy of the Potter County Commissioners. Reprinted with Permission.

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