Author Archive

What They’re Saying: MSC on the Road, Shale Gas Industry Continues to Bring Hope to Rural Communities

It’s been another busy, fact-packed, job-creating week for the Marcellus Shale Coalition(MSC). From meetings with Luzerne County landowners, to a grand opening of aWestmoreland County facility, the MSC continues to engage and help educate key stakeholders, various coalitions, small businesses and folks just looking for an opportunity to join our industry’s efforts in delivering affordable, clean-burning energy for America — a key aspect of our ‘Guiding Principles’.

Here’s what they’re saying about the economic activity that responsible Marcellus development is providing for the region’s workforce and small businesses.

  • “Now there is an opportunity and plenty of work that will be here for a long time”: “More than 100 local business people turned out to see how they can take advantage of the touted economic boom from Marcellus Shale natural gas extraction. Businesses ranging from engineering and restaurants to jewelers and electricians came to the Hilton Scranton and Conference Center to see what the new industry needs and whether they can provide it. The dollar amounts are eye-popping. A single well costs $4 million to complete. It requires 125 tons of cement, 5,000 tons of aggregate stone and 180 rail cars of sand. A Range Resources executive said more than 100 suppliers and contractors are needed to complete a well. Every mile of pipeline is another $1 million. … “We are an example of a local company that got involved in the play,” he said. “I came back to the area for this, and we all complain that our kids can’t come back. Now there is an opportunity and plenty of work that will be here for a long time.” (Scranton Times-Tribune, 10/22/10)
  • Local Business Hires 20, Opens Two New Offices for Marcellus-Related Work: “The Marcellus Shale offers tremendous economic opportunity for local small business owners, representatives of the Marcellus Shale Coalition said Thursday. … At a meeting with local business leaders … representatives from the natural gas drilling and pipeline industries offered advice on how to tap the well of opportunity offered by the shale gas industry.About 100 people attended the event, which was co-hosted by gas-industry advocacy group Marcellus Shale Coalition, the state Department of Community and Economic Development, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center and the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce. Chris McCue, of Borton-Lawson, called his Wilkes-Barre-based environmental engineering firm a “story of a local company that’s been able to get involved in the (Marcellus Shale) play that didn’t have experience prior to the play developing.” McCue said development of the Marcellus Shale has given Borton-Lawson “a resume that we didn’t have a year and a half ago and helped the firm hire 35 employees since January, 20 of them directly linked to the drilling industry, and open branch offices in Towanda and Pittsburgh. (Wilkes-Barre Time Leader, 10/22/10)
  • MSC president “sees 90,000 new Pa. jobs by end of year”: Promising thousands of jobs and decades of development, a natural gas drilling advocacy group says the change the industry will bring to Pennsylvania has only just begun. “I think it has happened quickly, but I think the coverage of it has been pervasive. I mean the interest in it has made it seem faster than it really is,” Marcellus Shale Coalition President Kathryn Klaber told The Times Leader on Wednesday. Natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale is not a “flash-in-the-pan gold rush,” Klaber said, but an industry that will add 90,000 jobs to Pennsylvania’s work force by the end of the year and will produce steady employment for decades to come.” (Wilkes-Barre Time Leader, 10/21/10)
  • “Marcellus Shale natural gas can give Pennsylvania energy security”: “Pennsylvania is facing a ‘huge opportunity’ with the development of the Marcellus Shale, but it also faces many more challenges in the coming year on several economic fronts, a state Chamber of Business and Industry executive believes. Gene Barr, vice president of Government and Public Affairs for the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, was the keynote speaker at last night’s annual meeting of the Clinton County Economic Partnership. … “This area, along with the rest of the state where the Marcellus is, has the opportunity to see the biggest economic boom that Pennsylvania has seen in decades,” he said. … Marcellus Shale natural gas can give Pennsylvania energy security at a time when the state is now a huge exporter with of coal and nuclear power, he said. (Lock Haven Express, 10/14/10)
  • More Marcellus Jobs en route to Tioga Co.: “Ground was broken Thursday for a treatment plant that will allow wastewater produced by hydrofracturing for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale in Tioga County to be treated and reused “indefinitely,” according to Neil Hedrick, Hydro Recovery LP president. … Hydro Recovery LP is expected to begin operations in April, Hedrick said, and will employ 12 people. It also will create about 40 construction jobs while it is being built. Mike Hawbaker, owner of Hawbaker Engineering, is the plant’s designer. Since drilling began in the Marcellus Shale more than two years ago, his company has been able to add 200 jobs, he said. Hedrick said the facility is the first of about 12 the company plans to build in the region. (Williamsport Sun-Gazette,10/22/10)
  • Chamber of Commerce Exec.: Marcellus Producers “are hiring local”: “Companies doing business in the Marcellus Shale are moving to the area and creating jobs for local workers. About 1,000 of the jobs were available at Saturday’s Marcellus Career Expo at the Pennsylvania College of Technology field house. … According to an event program, companies were looking for, among other things, receptionists, sales staff, crane and heavy equipment operators, commercial drivers, general laborers, mechanics, drillers, derrick-hands, and engineers. “There are definitely local jobs available,” said Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Jason Fink. “There are a lot of folks saying people are being brought in from out of state for these jobs. That’s not what we’re seeing from these companies. They are hiring local.” … Mark Farabee, district manager for Halliburton… said his company is expanding and anticipates hiring 300 people by the end of next year. … “The majority are local,” Morris said, adding, “We’re always looking to hire employees. I just hired 12 people within the last three or four days.” (Williamsport Sun-Gazette, 10/17/10)
  • Marcellus Jobs “reality, in some cases, is different from the talking points of the industry’s detractors”: “There were 20 companies there. They were offering about 1,000 jobs. They intend to hire local people. That was the format at Saturday’s Marcellus Career Expo at the Pennsylvania College of Technology. Besides offering opportunity, the expo offered a window into the reality of employment by the gas industry. That reality, in some cases, is different from the talking points of the industry’s detractors. … These companies do hire local people and will be hiring more of them … While many of those hired may start out relatively low on the wage scale, they can make a lot of money within a couple years, perhaps in the $60,000 to $100,000 range. (Williamsport Sun-Gazette Editorial, 10/22/10)
  • Working Together, Educating the Community, Hiring Locally: “A gas industry engineer stressed the importance of working together to ensure Wayne County can get the most out of the Marcellus Shale at a Tuesday evening educational forum on natural gas drilling. The Wayne County Oil & Gas Task Force and the Penn State University Cooperative Extension sponsored “Marcellus Well Drilling 101” at the Honesdale High School. … He said Marcellus Shale in the county would bring opportunities to everyone. … He also said the process is so broad and complex that it would be impossible to not involve local workers. “We have to work together. I’m not able to transport a bunch of workers from Oklahoma,” he said. (Wayne Independent, 10/20/10)
  • Baker Hughes hiring for center: “Baker Hughes Inc., an oil and natural gas services company based in Houston, said Thursday it is hiring an unspecified number of skilled laborers for its new $16 million repair and maintenance center in Hempfield, Westmoreland County. The 57,000-square-foot facility will support natural gas drilling and production in the Marcellus shale reserves in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, said spokeswoman Kathy Shirley. About 75 people so far work at the Hempfield center, part of a $250 million investment Baker Hughes is making to support its Marcellus operations, the company said. (Tribune-Review, 10/22/10)


MSC Statement on Ongoing Legislative Developments in Harrisburg

We’re regretful that there wasn’t closure brought toward achieving commonsense legislative initiatives

Canonsburg, PA – As the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s legislative session draws to a close, Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) president and executive director Kathryn Klaber issued the following statement regarding the months of good-faith, broad-based discussions that the industry continues to participate in with the goal of reaching sound, legislative and regulatory solutions that will encourage economic growth and job creation, while helping to put the Commonwealth on a path towards a cleaner energy future:

“From the outset of these discussions, our industry has been working closely with elected leaders and key stakeholders in an effort to modernize the Commonwealth’s legislative and regulatory framework. These commonsense and shared goals will help ensure that capital investment will continue to flow into Pennsylvania, which is critical to expand job opportunities during this period of high unemployment and economic uncertainty.

“Expanding the responsible development of the Marcellus Shale’s abundant, clean-burning natural gas resources will also help put our region and the nation on a path toward a cleaner and more secure environmental future.

“As part of a well thought out and considerate comprehensive overhaul that includes legislative and regulatory modernizations, our industry maintains its support for a competitively structured severance tax that allows for capital recovery and reinvestment, comparable to other leading shale gas producing states, such as Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana.

“The leadership in the state senate deserves credit for their months of work in crafting a competitive, well-balanced package of reforms that would help ensure Pennsylvania remains a leader in responsible shale gas development.

“While our commitment to achieve these shared goals remains steadfast, we’re regretful that there wasn’t closure brought toward achieving these commonsense initiatives during this legislative session. We must get this historic opportunity right; we cannot afford not to.”

NOTE: Below are a host of MSC statements regarding regulatory and legislative developments and proposals:

  • “Kathryn Klaber … says the bill the House passed is more than double what is the least competitive severance tax in other shale gas states. The House bill would put a 39 cent tax on every thousand cubic feet of gas drilled. Klaber says a severance tax that is not competitive with other states would stifle competition in Pennsylvania.” (WDUQ,10/11/10)
  • “A competitively structured tax in Pennsylvania, that allows for critical capital investment, coupled with smart regulatory and legislative modernizations, is key to ensuring that this historic opportunity is realized in ways that benefit each and every Pennsylvanian.” (MSC statement, 9/29/10)
  • “A fair, competitive and updated regulatory framework and tax structure has been, and continues to be the position of the Marcellus Shale Coalition – a position the industry has conveyed to both the executive and legislative branches of our state government.” (MSC statement, 9/20/10)
  • “Kathryn Klaber, executive director of the MSC, an advocacy group representing almost all of the state’s shale gas producers, said the Arkansas [tax] model is one the coalition has been encouraging because ‘we view it as a good way to encourage development and return some revenue to local governments.’” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9/8/10)
  • “MSC President Kathryn Klaber says the fiscal code language about the severance tax proposal includes a commitment by elected leaders to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of ‘how best to seize on the opportunities of the Marcellus in the future, and do so in a manner that benefits all Pennsylvanians.’ … ’We need an updated and modernized regulatory and legislative framework, and a fair tax strategy that keeps our state ahead of the curve in attracting the investment needed to bring these resources to the surface.’” (WDUQ, 7/7/10)
  • “MSC members will continue to be key participants in this iterative, ongoing process, working alongside the General Assembly, the administration and stakeholders across the Commonwealth to put our state in the best possible position to seize on the extraordinary opportunities of the Marcellus. And when it comes to that objective, there’s nothing more important than having a tax, regulatory and legislative framework in place that’s collaborative in its approach, and comprehensive in its design. Today’s agreement moves us one step closer toward the realization of such a plan.” (MSC statement, 7/6/10)
  • “We will continue to work closely with the General Assembly, the governor and his administration, as well as county and local officials, to craft commonsense solutions – especially modernizing our outdated regulatory framework – that encourage competitiveness, expanded job creation and energy security.” (MSC statement, 6/15/10)
  • “Kathryn Klaber, president of the MSC … said state regulations need to be ‘dusted off and modernized’ but emphasized the competitive nature of the gas drilling industry and its economic benefits for the state.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 5/4/10)
  • “We stand ready to work with you on a plan to convert this potential into historic opportunities for the future – and look forward to continuing to update you and your colleagues on our progress and priorities in the weeks and months to come.” (MSC letter to General Assembly, 4/8/10)
  • “The MSC is committed to an ongoing dialogue with key stakeholders on the development of this framework. This opportunity is far too important for Pennsylvania’s economic future and the future of clean energy development for the nation. We will continue to work closely with lawmakers and regulators to make sure Pennsylvania gets it right, especially given how fortunate we all are to have this once-in-a-lifetime chance to make a difference in the lives of so many.” (MSC statement, 2/9/10)


In the Know on H20

Government agencies dispel myths on water usage in the Marcellus, while MSC operators continue to recycle what they have, pursue sustainable means for what they need

Seven seconds.

The time it takes for food to pass from your mouth to your stomach. The length of an average play in the NFL. And, in case you’re counting, the amount of time that has elapsed since you started reading this email. You know what else? Every seven seconds, the Susquehanna River deposits two million gallons of water into the Chesapeake Bay – equivalent to the amount that producers of clean-burning natural gas from the Marcellus Shale withdraw (and pay for) over the course of a 24-hour day.

Two-million gallons sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Well, consider this: All told, the Susquehanna and its surrounding watershed convey more than 26 billion gallons of waterthrough the Commonwealth every single day – which means the two-million gallons associated with the Marcellus in Pennsylvania account for roughly 0.0125 percent of the basin’s total supply. By contrast, 325 million of those 26 billion gallons – 1.5 percent – go toward meeting the general water needs of the state and its citizens; basically the stuff we use for drinking, showering, dishes and laundry. About 150 million more are claimed each day for power generation. And then there’s the 50 million gallons a day used for “recreation.” Think ski slopes in the winter, golf courses in the summer, and Crocodile Mile all year long.

As with most issues related to the Marcellus, applying the relevant context is key to understanding the relevant substance. And to its credit, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC), which oversees and regulates water withdrawals throughout the river’s expansive basin, hasn’t let the politically charged nature of the Marcellus debate get in the way of getting out the facts. Just this past weekend, in fact, SRBC’s Jim Richenderfer was asked by the Williamsport Sun-Gazette whether he thought natural gas exploration posed a threat to local water supplies. Here’s what he had to say:

“There is no danger the gas industry will drain the basin of its water,”Richenderfer said. … According to Richenderfer, the gas industry is removing about 2 million gallons of water per day from the watershed, though it is permitted to remove 25 to 30 million gallons. That is a drop in the bucketcompared to the amount of water flowing out of the watershed at any given moment, he said.

As SRBC’s Richenderfer alluded to in his comments above, Marcellus producers are permitted by SRBC to withdrawal as many as 30 million gallons of water a day. So why are they currently only drawing about one-fifteenth of that amount?

Glad you asked. For starters, we simply don’t need as much water to do the job these days as might have been required in the past. Chalk that one up to advances in water recycling. Remember: Three years ago, very little of the water being produced at the wellsite was being re-used. Today? Many of the large operators are recycling 100 percent — and across the entire Coalition, that number is nearing 70 percent and rising each month.

Some of those operators recycle that water right at the wellsite; others take it to local (but strictly regulated) facilities to do this work for them. Yesterday’s Williamsport paper goes into a bit more detail on the basic mechanics involved in treating this water before it’s eventually re-used again by operators:

Trucks drive to a spill-proof concrete pad at the back of the building, hook up to an inbound receptacle and unload the wastewater, which is filtered to remove items such as stones, mud and other debris. The water then is filtered through a silt sack and stored in a lined concrete pit. … According to Larson engineer Quay Schappell, every truck that pulls into the facility has to complete a manifest showing the well from which its load was taken.

But of course, recycling is only one-half of the equation. The other key consideration relates to finding the most responsible and sustainable ways to access the water we need without adversely affecting ground or surface reservoirs. Most folks think that 100 percent of the water used in the development of the Marcellus Shale comes from surface sources like lakes, streams, ponds and rivers. But that’s never been true in the past, and it’s certainly not true today.

Just look around the Commonwealth for yourself. A story this week in the Centre Daily Times highlights an effort by MSC member Exco Resources to secure “400,000 gallons per day from the University Area Joint Authority’s beneficial reuse recycled wastewater” – literally taking already-used, about-to-be-discharged wastewater off the hands of local water authorities, and paying them for the right to do it.

Now look up along the Northern Tier, where Seneca Resources Corporation, another MSC member, announced earlier this fall that it was utilizing water from abandoned coal mines to conduct its fracturing operations in Tioga Co. Here, Seneca effectively killed two birds with one stone: Not only did the move allow the company to reduce its intake of freshwater, it also had the effect of greatly reducing discharges of mine water into local waterways – a release point that DEP had previously identified as the fifth most severe in the state. Less water means less traffic on the roads. Good for the environment, right? It’s also good for business:

By using the mine run-off water instead of fresh water resources, Seneca estimates it is saving $120,000 per well it drills. In addition to monetary savings, this method also reduces the truck traffic on the roads, saving wear and tear on roads. It’s too soon to tell what positive effects the removal of mine water will have on the local trout population.

Of course, the further east you venture along the Northern Tier, the closer you get to the boundaries of another interstate watershed commission that’s found itself in the news plenty over the past several months. Now we’re talking about the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), which just this week announced yet another delay in promulgating new rules governing the permitting of Marcellus operations in the eastern sixth of the Commonwealth. Previously scheduled to be released in September, and then in October,DRBC now says they’ll be sent around sometime in November. Or maybe later.

But you know what? Let’s also give credit where credit’s due. Late last month, DRBC executive director Carol Collier addressed an annual meeting of energy producers in New Paltz, N.Y., using the occasion to dispel the myth that DRBC was anti-Marcellus, and outright dismissing the notion that water withdrawals associated with shale development were of even mild concern to her or her Commission.

According to Collier, more than billion gallons of water are withdrawn from the Delaware River watershed every day — for a host of industrial, consumer and agricultural needs. The way the DRBC sees it, Marcellus development has the potential to account for 7 to 13 million gallons of water withdrawn a day – meaning that shale development, at maximum, would account for just 0.15 percent of water usage in the basin. You’ve heard of theMarcellus Multiplier, right? Now meet the Marcellus Rounding-Error.

Interestingly enough, some observers predict that eventually producers may able to tap the Marcellus using very little (or perhaps even no) water at all. Until then, every single member of the MSC is committed to doing more with less, and applying the best and most innovative technologies available to ensure the water we do use is used right – and secured in the most responsible, sustainable way possible.


MSC: Transportation Safety Day in State College “A Huge Success”

Natural gas industry committed to safety on the roads, communities in which we operate

Canonsburg, PA – At a day-long seminar yesterday in State College, the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC), in collaboration with the Pennsylvania State Police, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Public Utility Commission (PUC) and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), hosted the first Marcellus Transportation Safety Day. The seminar’s aim was to “Better educate carriers and truck drivers supporting the natural gas industry of Pennsylvania’s regulations to improve their safe operating practices.”

The seminar included remarks from Kathryn Klaber, president and executive director of the MSC; Scott Christie, deputy secretary for Highway Administration, PennDOT; and Colonel Frank E. Pawlowski, commissioner, Pennsylvania State Police. Photos from yesterday’s event are available on the MSC’s Facebook page; to view them, click HERE.

“The natural gas industry is committed to working with state regulators and safety officials at every level of government to ensure that the safety and integrity of our roads and infrastructure are maintained as increased truck traffic associated with Marcellus development expands across the Commonwealth,” said Kathryn Klaber. “The safety of our workers and the communities in which we operate is an integral part of our Guiding Principles, and we will continue to work each day with local, state and federal officials to address these important issues. By all accounts, this event was a huge success toward achieving that common goal.”

The seminar, held at The Penn Stater Conference Center, attracted over two hundred transportation experts, truck drivers and safety coordinators that support the development of the Marcellus Shale across Pennsylvania.

Seminar breakout sessions included:

  • PA State Police: Pennsylvania State Police motor carrier enforcement personnel discussed the motor carrier safety regulations with particular emphasis placed upon the most common violations found during roadside inspections of trucks supporting gas drilling operations. Following a classroom presentation, attendees participated in an actual walk-around truck inspection performed by experienced field motor carrier inspectors.
  • PA Public Utility Commission: The PUC discussed the Commonwealth’s Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) program, along with the requirement for certain carriers to obtain PUC operating authority. Pennsylvania’s New Entrant Audit and Compliance Review programs and their impact on carrier operations were also addressed during this session.
  • PA Dept. of Environmental Protection: DEP, Bureau of Waste Management, addressed Pennsylvania’s regulations pertaining to the transportation of environmental waste, with particular emphasis placed on the regulations that govern the transportation of waste water from Marcellus Shale gas drilling operations.
  • PA Dept. of Transportation: Special Hauling Permits are required and issued for Oversize and Overweight loads using Pennsylvania’s Interstate Highways, US Routes and State Highways. During this session, PennDOT discussed the process by which these permits can be obtained and the penalties for violating their terms and conditions. This session also addressed PennDOT’s posted and bonded roads program.
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: FMCSA discussed the process by which they determine a carrier’s safety fitness rating and the consequences and intervention taken on carrier’s determined to be unsatisfactory. A new safety fitness system, Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010, will be implemented this year and was discussed in detail.

NOTE: Click HERE to view a recent Lock Haven Express op-ed by Kathryn Klaber, which underscores the MSC’s commitment to road and infrastructure investment and safety.


Ridge: Philadelphia City Council’s Marcellus Hearings a Positive Educational Opportunity

Fmr. Governor Urges Forum to Remain Focused on Facts, Science, Potential Benefits of the Marcellus

Canonsburg, Pa. – Today, the Philadelphia City Council’s Environment and Transportation & Public Utilities panels will hold a joint hearing focused on the responsible development of the Marcellus Shale’s clean-burning, job-creating natural gas reserves, which – by year’s end – is projected to create nearly 88,000 jobs in Pennsylvania alone, according to Penn State University researchers. This tightly-regulated production is enabled by the 60-year old energy stimulation technology known as hydraulic fracturing, which has been safely used in more than 1.1 million wells nationwide without ever directly impacting groundwater.

Gov. Tom Ridge, a strategic advisor to the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC), issued the following statement regarding today’s hearing, where MSC president and executive director Kathryn Klaber is slated to provide testimony and expert analysis:

“Developing the Marcellus Shale’s abundant, job-creating natural gas resources in a world-class manner is the priority of every operator in this industry and an imperative we must get right. The Philadelphia City Council deserves much credit for examining this production and the benefits – thousands of jobs, a cleaner energy future, and more affordable supplies of energy for consumers – that are being realized for each and every Pennsylvanian.

“Education and an honest and civil debate about this process is absolutely critical, and the industry is committed to equipping Pennsylvanians with the facts about this tightly-regulated, environmentally sound development. Our hope, and expectation, is that today’s City Council meeting will provide a venue to help advance these shared goals.”

NOTE: A recent study by the non-profit STRONGER (State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations) — a national board of state regulatory officials, industry experts and environmental stakeholders — underscored the fact that “hydraulic fracturing has been used in Pennsylvania since the 1950s. Since the 1980s, nearly all wells drilled in Pennsylvania have been fractured. Although thousands of wells have been fractured in Pennsylvania, DEP has not identified any instances where groundwater has been contaminated by hydraulic fracturing.” Click HERE to view this study on-line.

Copyright Marcellus Shale Coalition

What They’re Saying: Responsible Marcellus Shale Gas Development Creating Jobs, Delivering Affordable Supplies of Homegrown, Clean-Burning Energy to Consumers

  • “Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale has been a bright spot in job creation”
  • Marcellus development “to create more than 111,000 new jobs and generate $987 million in state and local tax revenue by 2011”
  • ‘Marcellus Multiplier’ creating “a surge in real estate activity”; “There’s no question it’s having a positive impact” on regional hotels

We’re Hiring: Shale coalition launches job site”: “The Marcellus Shale Coalition has launched a website intended to connect job seekers with its members – natural gas companies and related businesses. The “job portal” at offers descriptions of job opportunities and what the required qualifications are, from equipment operators and well tenders to geophysicists and market research analysts, and has links to the employment pages of companies’ websites. (Scranton Times-Tribune, 9/14/10)

Thousands of jobs listed on a Marcellus Shale jobs website”: “The gas drilling industry is flourishing in the Northern Tier. People at Talisman Energy tell us the company is producing 200 Million cubic feet a day in Bradford, Tioga, and Sullivan counties alone. They expect that to rise to 300 million cubic feet by the end of the year. That’s enough to heat a city three times the size of Rochester. A Talisman spokesman tells us the industry is working with area schools and universities to develop a local work force. “That’s happening right now”, says spokesman, MarkScheuerman: “Penn College is doing some wonderful things in PA. Penn State is working on those things as well. Corning Community College, and Broome Community College are deeply interested in it.” There are thousands of jobs listed on a Marcellus Shale jobs website — from office support, to general labor, to scientists. (WENY-TV, 9/16/10)

Responsible Marcellus Shale Development a modern-day gold rush in Pa.: “Pennsylvania is on the verge of what many policy experts are calling a modern-day gold rush, thanks to the Marcellus Shale formation, a natural gas deposit that spans most of the state. … In fact, Marcellus may turn out to be the second-largest gas deposit in the world. It promises great potential for economic expansion and job creation in a state and region sorely in need of both. Development of the Marcellus Shale was one of the few bright spots in Pennsylvania’s economy last year, according to a recent Penn State study, creating44,000 new high-paying jobs and generating nearly $1.4 billion in additional federal, state and local tax revenue. In a state where unemployment has been rising toward double digits throughout the year, hitting 9.3 percent in July, the Marcellus Shale provides tremendous hope for the hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians seeking work. The Penn State study concluded that, in total, development of the site is likely to create more than 111,000 new jobs and generate $987 million in state and local tax revenue by 2011. (Politico Op-Ed,9/16/10)

Marcellus Shale a bright spot in job creation”: “The natural-gas bonanza inPennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale has been a bright spot in job creation, said Angela Palumbo, an administrator for Mercer County’s CareerLink employment agency. “The Marcellus Shale is just starting to generate interest in training for these types of jobs,” Palumbo said. “Our hope is that this can help our economy turn around.” Companies that service the natural-gas industry — including manufacturers, logistics providers and water-treatment facilities — have started hiring, and more workers likely will be needed, she said. (Youngstown Vindicator, 9/16/10)

350 New Marcellus-Related Jobs En Route to Eastern Ohio: “Bill Turner, Workforce Administrator for the Trumbull County One-Stop job office in Warren, partly attributed the number of jobs to development of the Marcellus Shale natural gas formation under eastern Ohio, Pennsylvania and neighboring states, but also a gradual economic recovery that is bringing jobseekers back into the market. ”A lot of people are looking again due to encouraging news. They have more options than they did six months ago,” he said. … The Marcellus Shale is prompting global steel tubemaker V&M Star to hire 350 workers to staff the new fine-quality tube mill it’s building. (Warren Tribune Chronicle, 9/16/10)

Shale Gas Development Safe and Beneficial”: “Natural gas production has the potential to make a tremendous positive economic impact in New York. Not long ago the Broome County government commissioned a study to explore the benefits of natural gas production. It found the Marcellus holds enough natural gas just in that single county to pave the way for 16,000 good-paying jobs, $793 million in wages, and $15.3 billion in economic output over the next 10 years. If we look to our neighbors in Pennsylvania, we already see the amazing impact of natural gas production. According to a 2009 IHS Global Insight study,natural gas supported 53,000 jobs and provided almost $13 billion in economic value in 2008 alone. … We look to Pennsylvania where more than 200,000 new jobs will be created from Marcellus development. (Press & Sun-Bulletin Op-Ed, 9/12/10)

Broad Coalition Fights for Responsible, Job-Creating Marcellus Development: “Economic development organizations and landowner groups in Wayne County issued a stinging criticism Thursday against the Delaware River Basin Commission for enacting a moratorium on natural gas drilling and causing a deep negative economic impact by effectively halting development. The pro-drilling groups, including landowners’ alliances that have secured more than 100,000 acres in Wayne County for gas development and the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, also warned the commission not to develop stringent regulations that would exceed current state environmental regulations because it could deter companies from operating there. (Scranton Times-Tribune, 9/10/10)

Clean-Burning Marcellus Shale Natural Gas the best news the Region, Economy’s Had in Years: “The best news that has happened again to our region and economy in many years has been the discovery of the Marcellus gas shale formation. … We must open our minds, think, and appreciate this new-found resource. … Oil and gas have played a huge role in our development and will continue; however, we must not allow moratoriums, misinformation and over regulation to rule. (Observer-Reporter Op-Ed, 9/5/10)

MSC president: Marcellus Shale: Rebuilding our workforce and infrastructure”: “This year alone, the Marcellus Shale industry will invest more than $100 million to repair and repave roads in the communities we operate – and in virtually every case, we’re rebuilding these roads to higher standards, ensuring their ability to handle the increased traffic and weight. These upgrades and repairs are done overwhelmingly by local contractors, another example of our industry’s robust and growing supply chain – the ‘Marcellus Multiplier’ – is helping to give a much-needed shot in the arm to local businesses and to our workforce. (Lock Haven Express Op-Ed, 9/10/10)

Gas drilling sparks real estate windfall”: “The natural gas-rich Marcellus shale has created a surge in real estate activity in Southwest Pennsylvania. It’s not confined to leasing acres of land for natural gas drilling operations, but extends to the rental of housing and the leasing of office, industrial and warehouse space since the boom in gas exploration in the mile-deep shale began here two years ago. … The industrial and residential real estate boom has come from new companies bringing jobs and people to the region, West said. There has been no exact count of jobs created in Southwest Pennsylvania from the natural gas boom, but one estimate has 44,000 jobs being added statewide. … A survey by the Marcellus Shale Coalition, a trade group representing gas companies, found that 10 companies with operations in Southwest Pennsylvania now have 2,076 employees, and they expect to add 5,185 new jobs through 2011. (Tribune-Review, 9/12/10)

Natural gas industry a boon to Centre County hotels”: “Occupancy rates at some Centre County hotels are booming, fueled by Marcellus Shale gas. Hotels in areas nearest gas drilling operations are boasting 30 to 50 percent increases in overnight stays thanks to the influx of personnel extracting natural gas from the rich deposits located 5,000 feet or more under the ground. Philipsburg’s Harbor Inn packed gas workers into 25 of its 65 rooms from January through June, according to general manager Dolores Hollabaugh. “Our winters are usually really slow, and having them brought us way up,” Hollabaugh said. “Revenue went up 40 percent.” … Their numbers have increased so much so that several places that previously only filled up on Penn State football weekends now report they’re regularly booked up once or twice a week. … “There’s no question it’s having a positive impact on the hotel,” Purdum said. (Centre Daily Times, 9/13/10)

Top National Energy Expert Confirms Hydraulic Fracturing’s Long Record of Safety: “Over the past 60 years, fracking has been applied to millions of wells worldwide with virtually no incident and without any physical evidence that it can contaminate drinking water. … This war on fracking jeopardizes more than $200 billion per year in U.S. economic activity, and this is just the incremental value added at the wellhead. The multiplier effect throughout the American economy of foregoing production of these valuable resources would be several times greater. (Syracuse Post-Standard Op-Ed, 9/13/10)


Welcome to Wayne County

Home of folks who know a thing or two about clean energy from the Marcellus Shale — and aren’t afraid to tell DRBC how to use it

Before there was a Hoover, Grand Coulee or Niagara, there was a Wallenpaupack – a manmade lake dug out of Pike and Wayne counties featuring a state-of-the-art dam and 44-megawatt hydroelectric generator. It was a project that took 2,700 men and five million board feet of Douglas-fir to complete. But when it was done, folks in northeast Pennsylvania found themselves in possession of a clean energy resource that could be converted safely and efficiently into jobs and opportunity for the region. That, and a lake full of walleye.

Nearly 85 years removed from the dedication of Lake Wallenpaupack, residents of the Upper Delaware are at it again today. Just like back then, they’re looking to harness the promise and potential of clean energy in a way that makes a better future possible for themselves and their grandkids. These days, though, their focus is on the opportunities available through the development of clean-burning natural gas – and specifically, from the world-class shale formation known as the Marcellus.

How much natural gas are we talking here? Across the entire Marcellus, potentially an awful lot – as much as 516 trillion cubic feet if the geologists have it right, which, if actualized, would make the Marcellus the second largest natural gas field in the entire world (behind one in Iran, of all places).

But here’s a little wrinkle for you: News out of Harrisburg this week suggests the Marcellus resource base in Northeast PA may be a lot more significant than some had initially thought. Looking for a sweet-spot? Turns out 19 of the top 20 producing natural gas wells in the state over the past year can be found in a three-county stretch along the northern tier. Laura Legere of the Times-Tribune has more:

Of the top 20 producing wells, all but one are in Susquehanna, Bradford or Tioga counties. Raymond Deacon, an analyst with Pritchard Capital Partners LLC, sorted the wells’ production depending on how long they were on line in order to measure their performance. “It seemed like in every case, all the counties in the Northeast really stood out as being among the strongest in terms of production,” he said.

West to east, that’s Tioga, Bradford and Susquehanna. Can you name the county that comes next? It’s Wayne, with Pike County to the immediate south. So what do you think the chances are that folks up in Wayne and Pike are sitting atop a reservoir with the same sort of natural gas potential as they’re seeing from their neighbors? Pretty good, right? Unfortunately, and as we’ve written in the past, if the West Trenton, N.J.-based Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) has its way, those folks may never get to know one way or the other.

But sort through the weekend boating crowd, and set aside the second-summer-home crew from Manhattan, and you’ll find a group of folks in the area who have been part of that community for three, four, even five generations or more. Folks whose ancestors came to Honesdale back in the day to work on the railroads; others who can trace their lineage back to 19th century bridge builders from Milford. And guess what? Turns out these people aren’t all that keen about letting an out-of-state commission deny them the ability to develop their private mineral rights without a fight – or at least an explanation.

What exactly do they want, and why exactly do they want it? Take a look for yourself. Released earlier this week by the Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance, and co-signed by more than dozen local landowner, farmer and small business groups, the document linked to above (and here again) puts forth 10 separate requests that, under any other normal circumstance, before any other normal commission, would likely have already been incorporated as a matter of course. That’s not the case with the DRBC. But that’s not stopping folks on the PA side of the river from making their position on the matter crystal clear.

The natural gas industry offers unparalleled economic opportunities for the region with extremely limited impacts on the natural environment. No industry offers so much, with so small a footprint on the land that supports our tourism industry and lifestyle. … Our three principal counties suffer incomes that are 30-65% below those of the remainder of the DRBC region, with a median household income of only $44,000 a year. … The benefits to the nation from development of such clean energy here at home … compel us to insist the DRBC move forward promptly with regulation to ensure responsible gas drilling can take place now.

As you’ll see, the document not only stands up as a powerful public statement, but it’s also just dripping with substance. How does natural gas stack up with other energy when it comes to water usage? “It requires 0.84 to 3.70 gallons of water to produce one million BTUs of natural gas energy … compared with more than 2,500 gallons per one million BTUs of biofuels energy” – and according to federal reports, that’s on the conservative end. What about those who say the area’s lost too much forestland over the years? “A detailed land use study … found forest cover increased by 44,458 acres or 16.7% between 1959 and 2008.”

But wait, there’s more. Looking to catch up on the latest trends in the world of well-spacing? “Three years ago, the speculation was that each gas well might serve 40 acres. Two years ago, a 640-acre unit with four wells became standard. Today, Marcellus Shale companies are proposing 1,280-acre units on which they can potentially drill dozens of wells on less than a single five acre pad.” Sit down and listen up, DRBC. You may actually learn something here.

Of course, despite a high-profile EPA study that confirms the safety of fracturing technology, and more than 60 years of history and experience backing those findings up, DRBC finds itself today under a good bit of pressure from the naysayers as well. Their demand? DRBC must conduct a “cumulative” (read: multi-year) examination of the Marcellus before even thinking about issuing anything close to a permit. A letter sent to the Commission this week by Congressman Maurice Hinchey, a reflexive opponent of shale in particular and non-subsidized energy in general, makes this point abundantly clear:

I am writing to express my concerns regarding the Delaware River Basin Commission’s proposed regulations for natural gas exploration and production in the Delaware River Basin. … [I]t is difficult to understand how the DRBC can consider the release of gas drilling regulations without a comprehensive assessment of the possible impacts in the Delaware River Basin.

Delay, deny, and fight ‘til it dies — it’s strategy that’s as old as time itself. You know how it goes: An extra study here, an extended comment period there, a request for injunction if all else fails — anything to save opponents of affordable, job-creating energy from being put in the uncomfortable position of having to defend that proposition honestly, directly and on its own merits.

But good luck trying to bleed the air out of the tires on the NWPOA, fellas. These guys won’t be denied, and if Scott McConnell’s Times-Tribune article today is any indication, they won’t be ignored either. To wit:

Economic development organizations and landowner groups in Wayne County issued a stinging criticism Thursday against the Delaware River Basin Commission for enacting a moratorium on natural gas drilling and causing a deep negative economic impact by effectively halting development. … “We want to get the debate started and put our position out,” said Peter Wynne, spokesman, Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance.

It’s never been bad advice to come loaded for bear when visiting Wayne Co, Pa. But don’t expect to find any bull.


MSC Launches Online Marcellus Jobs Headquarters

Canonsburg, Pa. – Today, the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) launched a cutting-edge, interactive website dedicated to connecting job seekers with its member companiesoperating throughout the Marcellus region. The site –, which is featured below – offers in-depth descriptions of the broad range of jobs available in the industry, as well as current openings and employment opportunities.

Kathryn Klaber, president and executive director of the MSC, issued the following statement about the industry’s commitment to training and hiring local workers for the thousands of jobs that the shale gas industry is creating throughout the region:

“The responsible development of the Marcellus Shale’s abundant, clean-burning natural gas resources continues to expand throughout the region, helping to fuel a robust and growing supply chain network – the ‘Marcellus Multiplier’ – across the Commonwealth.

“And as this production expands, and the demand for labor and services continues to grow, so too are the tremendous amounts of job opportunities for the region’s workforce. In fact, a recent study conducted by professors from Penn State projects that over the next decade, Marcellus production will create nearly 212,000 new jobs in Pennsylvania alone.

“Our industry is committed to putting Pennsylvanians to work, strengthening our workforce and our economy, and putting our nation on a path toward a cleaner and more secure energy future.”


  • Gas boom economic engine for company: “When a Texas gas company hired Michael Pascuzzi’s earth-moving business to build two water impoundments, he sat down at his desk and cried. The family-owned company had been headed for bankruptcy. ‘We were real close to throwing in the towel,’ said Nicholas Pascuzzi Jr., Michael’s father and president of their McDonald-based company, New Dominion Construction. Marcellus shale saved the company, fresh evidence of how the commercial discovery of gas in the deep shale formation boosted the economy of Western Pennsylvania during a national recession.” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 9/8/10)
  • “Lukewarm adjectives like “modest,” “conservative” and “slight” were the keywords of the Federal Reserve beige book economic forecast released Wednesday. … The prospect of natural gas reserves — and lucrative contracts — in the Marcellus Shale region garnered a shout-out in the report.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9/9/10)
  • “Atlas Energy Inc. is among those doing some hiring. The natural-gas producer, based in Moon Township, Pa., has added 160 workers this year, bringing its head count to 680. The company recently played host to a jobs fair at a Pittsburgh-area hotel, where a line to register spilled out of a ballroom and into the lobby.” (Wall Street Journal, 9/4/10)


Risky Gas Drilling Threatens Health, Water Supplies

The rapid expansion of natural gas drilling across the nation endangers human health and the environment.

The oil and gas industry is seeking to expand natural gas production across the nation, as new technology makes it easier to extract gas from previously inaccessible sites. Over the last decade, the industry has drilled thousands of new wells in the Rocky Mountain region and in the South. It is expanding operations in the eastern United States as well, setting its sights most recently on a 600-mile-long rock formation called the Marcellus Shale, which stretches from West Virginia to western New York.

Nearly all natural gas extraction today involves a technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in which dangerous chemicals are mixed with large quantities of water and sand and injected into wells at extremely high pressure. Fracking is a suspect in polluted drinking water in Arkansas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming, where residents have reported changes in water quality or quantity following fracturing operations.

In the Marcellus Shale region, drilling is already well under way in parts of Pennsylvania, as well as in Ohio and West Virginia. Communities in Pennsylvania, where outdated regulations fail to cover high-tech drilling, have seen some of the worst impacts of natural gas extraction, including exploding water wells, contaminated water supplies, foul air, and reported human and animal illnesses. Even when done in compliance with existing regulations, natural gas production brings with it toxic waste, diesel fumes, traffic and wall-rattling noise, and transforms rural communities into industrial zones. Stronger regulations are needed to ensure adequate protections from the risks of gas drilling, and to control the rate and scale of development.

Irresponsible energy development in the Rocky Mountain West is also taking a toll on public wild lands, which provide vital wildlife habitat and are a source of pure air and clean drinking water. These irreplaceable ecological resources are threatened by air pollution, habitat destruction and water contamination caused by the recent expansion of natural gas drilling. More than 25 million acres of wildlife habitat in the West have been leased by the Bureau of Land Management, and could potentially be opened to drilling. In one area of Wyoming, as drilling activity increased, mule deer numbers declined by 30 percent from 2000 to 2007.

Despite the risks to human health and the environment, New York State is rapidly moving forward to allow fracking in its Marcellus Shale region, which stretches from the southern tier of the state into the Catskills, and includes the west-of-Hudson portion of the New York City watershed. This highly sensitive landscape provides pure, unfiltered drinking water for more than 9 million New Yorkers.

Allowing fracking in this region without first taking a good, hard look at the risks endangers private water supplies, air quality and landscapes across the state. Other states, including Pennsylvania, are scrambling to put more protective regulations in place after drilling has begun, but New York is in a unique position to be proactive and protect the health of local communities and valuable natural resources.

NRDC is fighting to protect communities across the country from the pollution caused by natural gas production. By tightening loopholes in our bedrock environmental laws, banning drilling on sensitive lands and requiring the most stringent regulatory requirements wherever production does take place, we can help protect critical water supplies and other precious resources and keep our communities safe and healthy.

Copyright NRDC

On the Radio: MSC Talks About Responsible Marcellus Development on Susquehanna Valley Airwaves

  • MSC president: “It’s important for listeners to understand more and more about this industry, and really get the facts, because this has been done safely for years and years.
  • MSC president: “The Safe Drinking Water Act never was the venue for which we regulated hydraulic fracturing processes in this country. It’s regulated by the states, and has been for as long as it has been regulated.
  • Radio host: “I was in Bradford County last weekend and must say that the gas companies look like they’re keeping everything looking nice and clean, building new roads.”

Canonsburg, Pa. – Yesterday, Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) president Kathryn Klaber appeared on WKOK’sOn The Mark” program to discuss a host of issues regarding the responsible development of clean-burning, job-creating natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation. Below are key excerpts from the interview, which is available on-line HERE (40:13–1:02:52).

On the MSC’s Community Outreach, Supply Chain Opportunities

  • “It’s a really exciting time for the industry. There’s a huge interest around all sorts of businesses who see opportunities here to add new products, to strengthen the supply chain, in working alongside the drillers and the midstream companies. … We’re also working on quite a few public appearances. … It’s important for listeners and viewers and readers to understand more and more about this industry, and really get the facts, because this has been done safely for years and years. And I can let you know that the Marcellus Coalition is working hard to make sure it’s done right for years to come.”

On Modernizing Pa.’s Outdated Legislative, Regulatory Framework

  • “Making sure that as we upgrade the different standards to reflect the current technologies that our members are brining that technical expertise to the table to do it in a way that really does it right. … It’s really important that we have a competitive framework and a competitive tax in place. … And for Pennsylvania, being a shining star in the national shale revolution, we want to make sure that there’s not a tax put in place that takes us out of that status, and makes it over punitive to do business here. And that’s really the same as any business person in Pennsylvania would expect, and deserve as well. Paying taxes is part of what businesses do, but you want to do it in a way that does not make you uncompetitive in what is more and more everyday a global and national marketplace.”

On Hydraulic Fracturing and the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)

  • “There is an extreme amount of misinformation about the Safe Drinking Water Act. The SDWA never was the venue for which we regulated the process of how water was used in hydraulic fracturing processes in this country. It’s regulated by the states, and has been for as long as it has been regulated. … We have the distinct daily exposure to the many regulatory professionals who are working in all of these companies, both with well drilling companies, well service companies, and the many environmental consulting firms, who are the members of our coalition. And those folks are implementing the dozens of laws that apply to every step of the process. … We’d be glad to show anyone the level of reports and the level of monitoring, the constant tracking of all the water that’s managed throughout this process.”

On GasLand, Shallow Methane Migration, and Pa.’s Private Water Wells

  • “I do believe its entertainment. … [PA DEP] Secretary John Hanger had called it “propaganda.” It’s very easy to show certain images, and not talk about what is the science behind it. For example, the northern tier in Pennsylvania has long had naturally occurring methane in the shallow surface area. It’s a problem when it contaminates private water wells. … That has nothing to do with the shale gas, that’s 8,000 feet below the surface. Is it a problem, absolutely. Does it result in being able to light taps on fire? I understand that’s the case. That is certainly not anything that has to do with shale gas development, and has everything to do with an issue that we really need to address in Pennsylvania, separate and apart from what this new [Marcellus] opportunity means for Pennsylvanians.”

On DEP’s Claims that Half of the Marcellus Operators Failed to Meet Reporting Deadlines

  • “The industry supported a law passed by the General Assembly and signed by the governor that created more transparency into what’s called the “production data.” We didn’t have that in Pennsylvania and thought it was a great idea, which gives greater transparency to all involved — and helps move the industry into the next level of modernization. …  August 15th was the first ever filing date for that kind of data. When I saw that information I immediately reached out to our membership and … with the agency to correct some of the significant pieces of misinformation on that release. There is a majority of names on the list that have not even had production during the reporting period. There was no indication that “zero” should be reported, and we’ve since talked about what the industry needs [to do] when there is “zero” production.”

On Midstream Development, Moving Marcellus Gas to Pa. Consumers

  • “We’ve had natural gas wells in Pennsylvania for generations, and that gas travels through what are called gathering lines, and then they go to the transmission lines. Part of the business, called the downstream part, is what sells you or I the gas for our homes or business. … So what’s happening, as larger quantities are being developed from a single well pad than before, is new gathering line infrastructure is being put in place. … Gathering lines are kind of like our neighborhood streets. It’s not the highway; those are the transmission lines. And it’s not our driveway, which just takes the gas from the ground to the wells on site. Those companies are also very integrated in what’s going on in Pennsylvania right now, and work for years, in many cases, with local landowners to make sure that that gas can get to market.”