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Marcellus Shale Gas Development Regulatory Issues

By Staff | Feb 6, 2009

The Lycoming College Clean Water Institute and the Susquehanna Chapter of Trout Unlimited are partnering to host two public meetings regarding the local environmental and economic impact of the Marcellus Shale gas development regulatory issues. The meetings, scheduled for Feb. 11 and March 11, will be held in the College’s Heim Science Building G-11 from 7-9 p.m. The events are free and open to the public.

According to Dr. Mel Zimmerman, director of Lycoming’s Clean Water Institute and a professor of biology, the discovery of vast natural gas deposits in the Marcellus Shale formation, which underlies the Allegheny plateau centered in the northern portion of Lycoming County as well as Clinton, Sullivan, Tioga and Bradford counties, has resulted in an influx of energy companies moving into tap what is reported to be the largest natural gas field in North America.

“There are significant issues involving the withdrawal of water for and disposal of wastewater from fracking the shale, as well as the impacts of truck traffic hauling the water and wastewater, and building well pads, lagoons, ponds and pipelines on a massive scale,” said Zimmerman.

Zimmerman says the Feb. 11 meeting will feature a panel of speakers to describe and answer questions about the ramifications of this large scale extraction of natural gas and the current regulatory programs which are being put into place to control the impact on the environment, local waterways and cold water fisheries.

Included in the program will be representatives from National and State Council Trout Unlimited, Susquehanna River Basin Commission, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Penn State Cooperative Extension and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry.

On March 11, the meeting will include a discussion with representatives from the natural gas industry to learn about how they are going to addresses the challenges of developing the gas extraction in an environmentally responsible manner.