July 21 webinar to focus on natural gas pipelines

University Park, Pa. -- A Web-based seminar to be presented by Penn State Extension July 21 will explore pipeline development and regulation in regions of the state being intensely affected by drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation.

Speaking in the webinar will be Wayne County extension educator Dave Messersmith, based in Honesdale, who is part of Penn State’s Marcellus Education Team and coordinates the university's annual Marcellus Summit, and Paul Metro, chief of the Gas Safety Division of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

They will discuss pipeline construction, associated surface infrastructure (valves, compressor stations, etc.), pipeline impacts on the landscape and in communities, ways to reduce pipeline impacts, negotiating terms for a pipeline right-of-way and regulatory oversight of gas pipelines in Pennsylvania.

There have been more than 2,300 wells drilled into the deep Marcellus layer in Pennsylvania in the last few years, primarily in the southwest, northeast and northcentral regions. Many pipelines have been and are being built to get the large volume of gas they produce to consumers.

A pipeline right-of-way is a strip of land over and around natural gas pipelines where some of the property owner’s legal rights have been granted to a pipeline operator, Messersmith said. A right-of-way agreement between the pipeline company and the property owner is also called an easement, which is usually filed in the county Register and Recorders Office with property deeds.

"Many people are concerned about eminent domain as it relates to pipelines," he said. "In reality the type of pipeline -- whether it’s a gathering line or an interstate transmission line -- will determine who provides regulatory oversight and whether eminent domain is possible."

Penn State Extension offers a publication called "Negotiating Pipeline Rights-of-Way in Pennsylvania," which Messersmith authored, for people interested in knowing more about pipeline issues. Part of the Marcellus Fact Sheet Series, single copies can be obtained free of charge by Pennsylvania residents through county Penn State Extension offices, or by contacting the College of Agricultural Sciences Publications Distribution Center at 814-865-6713 or AgPubsDist@psu.edu. The publication also is available in digital format at http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/FreePubs/PDFs/ua465.pdf online.

The July 21 webinar is part of a series of online workshops addressing opportunities and challenges related to the state's Marcellus Shale gas boom. Information about how to register for the webinar is available on the webinar page of Penn State Extension's natural-gas website at http://extension.psu.edu/naturalgas/webinars online.

Future webinars will focus on a research update on the effects of shale drilling on wildlife habitat and current legal issues in shale-gas development.

Previous webinars, publications and information on topics such as air pollution from gas development, the gas boom's effect on landfills, water use and quality, zoning, gas-leasing considerations for landowners, and implications for local communities also are available on the Penn State Extension natural-gas website, at http://extension.psu.edu/naturalgas online.

For more information, contact John Turack, extension educator in Westmoreland County, at 724-837-1402 or jdt15@psu.edu.

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Last Updated July 08, 2011