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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Natural Gas Task Force To Meet

Gas Task Force: Pipelines, Water Quality

Next meeting of the Potter County Natural Gas Task Force will focus on two topics with far-reaching implications as the Marcellus Shale gas rush intensifies: pipelines and public water sources. The meeting is scheduled for 7 pm Tuesday, May 10, at the Gunzburger Building Auditorium in Coudersport and is open to the public.

Featured program will be “Understanding Pipeline Infrastructure,” spotlighting information people should know as the construction of the smaller gathering lines from individual wells, as well as larger interstate distribution pipelines, intensifies.

Construction and inspection of pipelines is a complex issue with regulatory gaps. Townships and boroughs do have some power to regulate the location of pipelines and compressor stations to minimize their impact, while property owners should be aware of their rights when negotiating with companies seeking to locate pipelines or related facilities on private land.

Penn State Cooperative Extension educators will present details on these issues and others at Tuesday’s meeting.

“Much of this infrastructure has yet to be built, so we still have an opportunity to affect it,” Cooperative Extension’s Dave Messersmith said. “It’s going to be with us for a long time.”

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, a report will be presented on the launch of the Triple Divide Watershed Coalition. Its goal is to protect public water sources across Potter County from potential degradation from natural gas well drilling or other disturbances.

Initial focus of the new organization is a “risk reduction strategy,” which could include elements of public education, close liaisons with industry and/or township land use planning regulations.

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