Penn State Extension GAS EXPLORATION ISSUES Webinar

 

“Municipalities Roles, Water Use and Protections”

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A Web-based seminar sponsored by Penn State Extension
will examine municipalities’ roles related to water use and protection in the face of
burgeoning Marcellus Shale gas development in Pennsylvania.

The 75-minute webinar will begin at 1 p.m. on March 15. Presenters are Charles Abdalla,
professor of agricultural and environmental economics in Penn State’s College of
Agricultural Sciences, and Peter Wulfhorst, extension educator based in Pike County,
who specializes in economic and community development.

The uses and values of water are changing in Pennsylvania as a result of the rapid
development of the Marcellus Shale gas industry, according to Abdalla. These changes
are affecting municipal governments’ roles and activities and local outcomes and impacts.
“For example, there has been a significant increase in the demand for water needed in the
hydraulic fracturing of shale gas wells,” he said. “Public water suppliers, including
municipally owned systems, are meeting this demand and at the same time generating
sizable revenues through water sales.

“Also, some municipalities have generated new revenues by leasing their mineral rights
to watershed lands that supply water to their reservoirs and customers.”
Abdalla noted that the webinar will address three topics: water sales, leasing of
municipally owned watershed lands and municipalities’ potential role in regulating land
use to protect water.

“My webinar presentation will provide an overview of what we know — and don’t know –
– about these municipal activities, and existing and potential future issues.”
Wulfhorst will discuss the environmental safeguards that may be available under
Pennsylvania law to help municipalities protect water.  “Specifically, I will cover the notification changes for both host municipality and adjacent municipality and landowners, and the requirement of a water-management plan not to adversely affect the quantity and quality of water resources,” he said.

“Also, I will review the increase in well-location restrictions for existing buildings, water
wells, wetlands, public water supplies and streams, and I will discuss rules under which
gas operators will be presumed to be responsible for water-supply pollution.”
The webinar is part of a monthly series of online workshops that provide education about
the opportunities and challenges related to the state’s Marcellus Shale gas boom.  Information about how to register for the session is available on the webinar page of Penn
State Extension’s natural-gas website at http://extension.psu.edu/naturalgas/webinars.
Previous webinars, publications and information also are available on the Penn State
Extension natural-gas website (http://extension.psu.edu/naturalgas), covering topics such
as Marcellus gas development’s impact on transportation systems; seismic testing; air
pollution from gas development; the gas boom’s effect on landfills; Marcellus gas water
use and quality; zoning; gas-leasing considerations for landowners; implications for local
communities; gas pipelines and right-of-way issues; legal issues surrounding gas
development; and the impact of Marcellus gas development on forestland.
For more information, contact John Turack, extension educator based in Westmoreland
County, at (724) 837-1402 or by email at jdt15@psu.edu


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