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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Marcellus Shale Policy Conference at Duquesne University

Shale Gas: Middle Ground May Be Hard To Find

Potter County Commissioner Paul Heimel Reports From Pittsburgh

Representatives from both ends of the spectrum — and many places in-between —


had a forum in which to share their views Monday during the Pennsylvania

Marcellus Shale Policy Conference at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

A lively panel discussion included presentations from David Masur (left), director of Penn Environment; Kathryn Klaber, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition; as well as a lawyer, two professors and a Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) official.

Although the six panelists sought middle ground in terms of state policies to control the production of natural gas from Marcellus Shale, there were indications that compromises will be difficult to achieve. Masur described the public health risk under the present state gas drilling regulations as “dire” and forecasted “environmental harm that will take decades to repair.” He added, “We need to think about what sort of legacy will we be leaving for future generations . . . Short-term economic gain should not be the only thing that matters.”

Attorney Clifford Levine, whose firm represented a municipality attempting to impose local regulations to control gas drilling, suggested that a moratorium on the issuance of drilling permits by DEP may be necessary so that environmental, legal and political issues can be resolved.

duqklaber1Klaber (left) dismissed the suggestion as impractical and unfair. She said the state should instead move forward more quickly to resolve regulatory issues that have caused public angst and industry uncertainty. Klaber also called for an “open and honest dialogue” involving energy companies and public policy officials to develop a framework in Pennsylvania that allows gas production to move forward under reasonable restrictions.

Charles L. Christen, director of the Center for Healthy Environments and Communities at the University of Pittsburgh, expressed concern about public health risks and social impacts not addressed in any regulatory considerations. He forcasted the agricultural community becoming split over water use and conservation issues and said Pennsylvania appears to be ill-equipped to monitor and regulate air emissions from flowback water generated from hydrofracturing and other environmental side effects.

J. Scott Roberts, deputy secretary for mineral resources management with DEP, pointed out that his agency enforces laws, but does not pass them. “In many cases, the concerns are legislative issues,” Roberts said. “It could be that the issues we’re hearing about today are beyond the laws that are on the books.”


Anonymous said...

"Klaber also called for an “open and honest dialogue” involving energy companies and public policy officials"

Like that's ever going to happen.

Anonymous said...

As a person working in this field, it happens every day in this industry. Become educated and then start popping off on blogs.

Anonymous said...

Is this Paul's new job. Traveling at tax payers expense to report the news???

Anonymous said...

Let's see if Paul is so dedicated to travel to Gaines on May 19 7om to view Split Estate.

Maybe he could stop at the Visitors association, if they're open, & pick up a map.

Anyone care to vote yes or no to see if the commisioners go that night?

Anonymous said...

I for one appreciate the fact that the commissioners are staying on top of this and sharing information with the public. A lot of other counties are looking at the Task Force in Potter County as a model. I am proud of the way our county has handled this. I am not so proud of how Causer, Scarnati and others who are receiving big campaign donations from the energy companies are fighting the severence tax and trusting that everything is going to work out okay.