Local Gas Expo Sellout; People Coming From Nine States

Below is some information about the Natural Gas Expo for Potter, McKean and Cameron Counties.

Exhibitor space has sold out and people are registered from nine states for the three-county Natural Gas Expo, scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, March 17-18, at the Coudersport Gospel Tabernacle. Helene Nawrocki, executive director of the Potter County Education Council, reported at Tuesday’s Potter County Natural Gas Task Force meeting that interest in the event has come from far and wide. “In terms of gas production, the eyes of the country are on this area,” she noted. There were 70 exhibitor spaces available and more than 100 applications to fill them.

The Expo is free and open to the public from noon to 7 pm on Wednesday and from 10 am to 7 pm on Thursday. Seminars will be held on a rotating basis spotlighting water resources and gas drilling; marketing local businesses to the gas industry; poly tanks; and obtaining servicing contracts with gas companies.

Pipelines are next

There are so many different aspects of the gas and oil industry. At first we worried about the visual issues surrounding the gas drilling. Later we realized that our water and air qualities were at stake and that issue still takes a precedence today. As the production of natural gas progresses in this area we will see some new stages erupting this summer and with them new concerns. Things we have not yet considered because we are still investing all our time and energy into the water battle and some things that we will not know about until they start to happen. The nature of this industry seems to be in secrecy and quick movements, like a tiger, (isn’t that Exxon’s logo?) that make it difficult to see what’s coming head on, like a run away truck on a dark, rainy night.

One thing that has come up in the last months for me has been the pipeline infrastructure.  Did we know drilling for gas entailed pipelines? Sure we did, but I at least did not consider the full effect of this single aspect of natural gas drilling. Here are some links to informative sites and articles that are discussing this topic.

http://rnrext.cas.psu.edu/PDFs/FLWinter2009.pdf

The above link offers some good explanations of pipelines, how and what they are used for and what sort of effects they can have on PA forests.

The fifth story down this page gives some idea as to when this stage may begin and what we might see, at least for Potter County, PA.

http://today.pottercountypa.net/

Potter County’s next meeting

From: Commissioners
To: Potter County Natural Gas Task Force

Next meeting of the Potter County Natural Gas Task Force will be held at 7 pm on Tuesday, Jan. 12, at the Gunzburger Building. This should be a very interesting meeting. A news release and an agenda are attached.

Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith will be our guest speaker.
Additionally, Judy Bear from our Water Quality Committee will be making a presentation on the field visit to the Marshlands area in Tioga/Potter counties, where she and others observed an environmentally responsible pipeline project.
We’ll also hear details on the local Natural Gas Expo, scheduled for March 17-18, and reports from our study committees on Pubic Education; Township/Borough Impacts and Planning Issues; Taxation; Public Safety/Law Enforcement; Water Quality; and Employment/Training and Industry Technical Issues.
To provide some background on Commissioner Smith’s presentation, here’s a link to the story that appeared in a local newspaper in Towanda:
Please feel free to forward this material to anyone who might be interested in attending or otherwise remaining informed of the Task Force activities.
You might also want to bookmark the following websites to keep abreast on local developments pertaining to the natural gas industry in Potter County:
–Potter County Today (updated daily) at http://today.pottercountypa.net
–The Potter County Government website (see Marcellus Shale/Natural Gas link at top) at http://pottercountypa.net/

We’re looking forward to seeing you on Jan. 12 (7 pm) and thanks again for your interest.

Potter County Gas Task Force meeting tonight

http://today.pottercountypa.net/?p=3312

Potter County Task Force Updates

To: Potter County Natural Gas Task Force
From: Commissioners

Thank you for your interest in the Potter County Natural Gas Task Force. Purpose of this communication is to update you on activities and issues, including a timely program in Bradford this evening:

1. University of Pittsburgh at Bradford is hosting a free series of natural gas seminars beginning tonight (Sept. 17, 6-8 pm, Blaisdell Hall), with the topic, “Marcellus Shale Gas Wells: Infrastructure, Development and Economics.” Cooperative Extension educator Tom Murphy will discuss the importance of natural gas infrastructure in the production of Marcellus Shale gas wells. Pipelines, compressors, injection wells, water use and disposal, seismic studies, well siting, and economic trends will be discussed.

A second presentation, “Natural Gas Wells and Drinking Water,” will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Oct. 6. Cooperative Extension water resource specialists Bryan Swistock and Jim Clark will discuss water-quality impacts of gas and oil drilling and what homeowners need to know to monitor and protect their wells.

The third session, “Marcellus Shale: Legal Issues for Landowners,” will take place from 6-8 pm on Nov. 3.

Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-872-1787.

2. Next Potter County Natural Gas Task Force meeting will be held at 7 pm Tuesday, Oct. 13, in the Gunzburger Building. Additional details will be announced. Committee members are encouraged to meet between now and Oct. 13 as issues/developments warrant. Look for a follow-up email from the Commissioners on topics of interest or concern for each committee to explore.

3. Any Task Force member who would like to participate in Friday’s (Sept. 18) County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania Natural Gas Task Force conference call is welcome to do so. Topics to be discussed from 9:30-10:30 am include: a.) a Marcellus Shale Workforce Study recently compiled by the Pennsylvania College of Technology; and, b.) disposal issues surrounding naturally occurring radioactive materials from deep gas drilling. Anyone who would like to participate in this conference call should contact Commissioner Heimel at paulheimel@yahoo.com, or 814-274-8290, Ext. 203.

Thank you again for your interest. Please be on the lookout for a follow-up communication in the coming days. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please contact Todd Brown at tbrown@pottercountypa.net.

PA Land Trust Letter

Here is a letter I received from the PA Land Trust Folks. If anyone is motivated and wants to call or write there is some info in here to help you out with that.

Tell your state representatives and senators to vote against any budget deal that mandates leasing more State Forest land for drilling. Tell them to tell their leadership to keep leasing out of any budget deal. Tell them you want our State Forests to be responsibly managed for everyone. Tell them it is time to enact a tax on gas drilling to help offset the damages to natural resources and communities caused by gas operations.

Phone calls are the best way to contact your legislators and their staff; emails are okay. A call followed up by a quick email to reinforce your request is best! Go to http://www.legis.state.pa.us to find your state legislators. Use the box on the upper right corner of the page.

The proposed state budget deal is a gas corporation’s dream. It doesn’t include a severance tax on gas drilling even though every other major gas producing state has the tax. But it does open more State Forest acreage to gas drillers. This is wrong.

How could the General Assembly and Governor Rendell do things right? They could allow the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to study the impact of Marcellus gas drilling on previously leased land and evaluate potential future impacts. They could allow the agency to determine appropriate lands to lease and under what conditions based on principles of responsible management and science. They could allow the agency to conduct hearings for the public to review the agency’s findings and express their concerns.

Instead the General Assembly and the Governor seem to be saying, “hey, we need $100 million, $80 million, $200 million [or fill in the blank]. Let’s keep leasing publicly owned State Forest until we hit the target. Impacts? What impacts?”

BACKGROUND:

Without careful advance study and planning, we can’t know what additional drilling if any can occur on our publicly owned State Forest land without harming the forest’s environmental, economic and recreational values. We do know that massive leasing beyond the 660,000 acres already open for drilling would deeply constrain DCNR’s ability to manage the forest. It would threaten the forest’s wild and natural areas, old growth, wetlands and other environmentally sensitive areas as well as the recreational and other economic uses of the forest.

A massive amount of infrastructure would have to be developed to support drilling: clearing drill sites, developing roads and pipelines, settling ponds and treatment facilities. The fragmenting of wildlife habitat would be severe. It would seriously limit public access for recreation and have obvious impacts on forest aesthetics. The independent third party certification of the State Forest as sustainably managed likely would be lost. Water withdrawals for drilling and the handling of drilling waste would present potentially severe impacts on water quality and quantity. DCNR does not have adequate staffing now to monitor and manage existing drilling activity, let alone a massive expansion.

The Allegheny National Forest is seriously degraded and cannot be effectively managed because mineral rights are not controlled by the US Forest Service. Massive additional leasing threatens to create the same problems for our State Forests.

The General Assembly needs to exercise restraint in leasing our public lands for gas extraction. The impact of existing leases and potential impacts of additional leasing should be carefully evaluated before opening up more public land for drilling.

Check out http://landandwater.org and http://conserveland.org/features/GasLeasingNumbers for more information.


Andy Loza, Executive Director
Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
717-230-8560

Water Problems From Drilling Are More Frequent Than PA Officials Said

http://www.propublica.org/feature/water-problems-from-drilling-are-more-frequent-than-officials-said-731