University Park, Pa. — To address the opportunities and challenges of exploring for natural gas in the Marcellus shale in much of Pennsylvania, Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences and Penn State Cooperative Extension will offer a six-part series of online seminars starting this month and running through May 2009.
The "webinars" will cover a variety of topics ranging from the local government's role in gas exploration to the effects of deep-well drilling methods on water supplies.
The series is targeted at extension educators, representatives of federal and state agencies such as the Department of Environmental Protection, conservation district personnel, municipal officials, planning agencies, economic development groups, environmental groups, people who might influence public policy or individual decisions regarding exploration for gas, and interested citizens.
The one-hour webinars will be held at 1 p.m. on the following dates:
— Dec. 18: "What Marcellus Shale Exploration Means for Pennsylvania, Local Communities and Citizens." Presenter: Tim Kelsey, Penn State professor of agricultural economics.
— Jan. 22: "Landowners' Perspective — What Should Be Considered When Negotiating a Lease?" Presenter: Tom Murphy, Penn State Cooperative Extension educator.
— Feb. 19: "Third-Party or Off-site Impacts: Water Use and Water Quality Issues." Presenter: Bryan Swistock, Penn State water resources extension specialist.
— March 18: "Above the Marcellus Shale — Minimizing Negative Impacts of Natural Gas Development on Forests and Wildlife." Presenter: Margaret Brittingham, Penn State professor of wildlife resources and extension wildlife specialist.
— April 16: "The Marcellus Shale Resource." Presenter: Terry Engelder, Penn State professor of geosciences.
— May 21: "Governments' Roles." Presenter: Ross Pifer, director of the Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center at Penn State's Dickinson School of Law.
Individuals can register for each webinar online at http://naturalgas.extension.psu.edu/Events.htm. Shortly before the webinar date, registrants will receive an e-mail from Penn State Cooperative Extension with additional information about how to connect online.