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Friday, October 4, 2013

Gas Meeting: Pipelines, Water Quality, Jobs Discussed

Gas Meeting: Pipelines, Water Quality, Jobs Discussed

October 3rd, 2013
pottergasmeetdavem2Many pipelines, big and small, are coming to northern Pennsylvania in the coming years. Penn State Extension educator Dave Messersmith framed some of the challenges this could pose during the Potter County Natural Gas Resource Center’s quarterly public meeting. Messersmith has spoken and written extensively on pipelines that are being, or will be, built to carry natural gas by the billions of cubic feet to users in the Northeast. Pennsylvania is already both a supplier and a conduit of gas, poised to play a critical role in the coming years as companies drill down two miles or more into multiple shale formations.

Messersmith cited impacts that must be monitored and potentially controlled, including air pollution, erosion and sedimentation, wetlands disturbance, wildlife habitat fragmentation, deterioration of “viewsheds,” spreading of invasive weeds, noise pollution, decreased real estate values and safety hazards. He cited studies showing that populations of some forest raptors, songbirds and woodland amphibians could be threatened by pipeline development, while other species could benefit from additional clearings.

Messersmith listed several steps that companies could take to lessen the negative impacts: locating lines in existing rights-of-way; managing rights-of-way to enhance certain wildlife species; reducing the spread of invasive weeds and insects; boring under sensitive acreage, such as wetlands and streams; re-establishing forest cover; managing soils and re-seeding responsibly; and better planning of pipeline corridors. He added that property owners who are approached to lease their land should consider requiring certain conditions before signing.

Potter County Conservation District manager Chris Mitterer shared information on that agency’s commitment to protecting high-quality waterways. Potter County’s dirt and gravel road management program is a success story and local officials must continue to be vigilant, he said. JohnMcLaughlin,chairman of the Triple Divide Watershed Coalition, discussed plans to develop a regional plan for protection of public drinking water supplies.

Potter County Commissioner Paul Heimel, who serves on the Natural Gas Task Force for the County Commissioners Association of Pa., said he is part of a group that is lobbying for greater state oversight of gas drilling near public water supplies.

Terry Cole (right), administrator of the local Pennsylvania CareerLink office, said most natural gas jobs that are available in Pennsylvania and elsewhere would require travel to distant worksites. Lingering low prices at the wellhead have delayed the forecasted increase in local drilling, so companies have directed resources to areas where the gas supplies have already been tapped. A broad variety or resources, including job training opportunities are available for individuals seeking employment in the gas industry. Those interested in details are advised to contact CareerLink at 274-9330 or contact Terry Cole directly at tecole@state.pa.us.

2 comments :

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't Pennsylvania have regulations to mitigate these negative impacts from pipeline instead of leaving it to property owners to negotiate for them, when property owners may not recognize these impacts could occur?

Anonymous said...

8:27, Amen we have been dealing with the problems for 3mos and have had to do all the work & stay after them to fix the problems. It's been a nightmare. I was wondering how many other people have had issues such as their well being contaminated with bacteria.