University Park, Pa. — Visitors to Ag Progress Days, Aug. 19-21 at Rock Springs, can learn about the impacts of the deep-well natural-gas boom in Pennsylvania and have their questions answered about the legal, social, economic and environmental issues associated with gas exploration and production.
Located in the Ag Renewable Energy Tent near the intersection of West 10th and Main streets, the Natural Gas Impact Area will feature faculty and extension educators from Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, who will offer expert advice on natural gas issues.
"Penn State Cooperative Extension has offered more than 100 workshops around the state on natural gas leasing and impacts of gas exploration and production since 2001," said Tim Kelsey, state program leader for economic and community development. "These workshops have been attended by more than 14,000 people — so we know there is lots of interest out there."
Kelsey noted that experts not only will offer advice and information about leasing property for natural gas exploration, but also on a variety of natural-gas-related issues. "The natural-gas boom in Pennsylvania is going to have wide-ranging effects in areas such as water quality and quantity, financial management, economic and community development, work force development, forest fragmentation, and wildlife habitat, housing, population changes, local government and infrastructure," he said. "Penn State has experts working on all these issues, and more."
In addition, presentations on natural gas impacts will be held in the nearby College of Agricultural Sciences Exhibits Building theatre at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 19, and at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20. Those presentations will focus on financial management, leasing and water quality.
The decision about whether and when to lease is critical, according to Kelsey. "If you lease too early, you might get less than if you waited, but if you wait too long, you might miss the opportunity to lease at all. It's a one-shot deal — for many people, they will only get one chance to lease and they have to get it right. It's very complicated, and it's important that people talk to someone who understands the issues.
"If people want to learn more about natural-gas impacts, they should attend Ag Progress Days and stop by our natural-gas exhibit. This is a good opportunity for them to get their questions answered one-on-one."
Ag Progress Days is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, nine miles southwest of State College on state Route 45. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 19; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 20; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 21. Admission and parking are free.
For information, visit the Ag Progress Days Web site at http://apd.psu.edu.