Penn State Extension forms Marcellus Educational Consortium

November 04, 2010

University Park, Pa. -- With more than 1,800 natural-gas wells drilled in six years, the Marcellus Shale is generating new economic opportunities for many Pennsylvania residents, businesses and communities. Numerous environmental, educational and social issues also are associated with the development of this energy resource.

In support of its efforts to disseminate research-based information on natural-gas-related issues to Pennsylvanians, Penn State Cooperative Extension has joined with several key business firms to form the Penn State Marcellus Educational Consortium. The group's goals are to provide expertise on Marcellus topics and to facilitate discussions among community members, business leaders and others.

Leading national and regional financial-services firms Credit Suisse, PNC Bank and Fulton Financial Corp. (parent company of Fulton Bank N.A., FNB Bank, Lafayette Ambassador Bank and Swineford National Bank) are founding members of the consortium. Several other related companies are in discussions to become members of this educational partnership.

Since 2001, Penn State Cooperative Extension has conducted educational programming across the state in connection with Marcellus gas exploration. More than 60,000 people have attended workshops on various related topics, and countless more have received information from Penn State publications, online seminars, television programs and websites.

Thomas Murphy, extension educator and co-director of the Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research, said that providing people with well-researched information on the benefits and challenges of the Marcellus play is critical to smart, sustainable growth and development in the region. He noted that the consortium will help identify educational needs and guide the development of innovative new programming.

"The numerous effects of natural-gas development are diverse and include the very visible economic impacts," said Murphy. "Extension conducts unbiased, science-based programs to educate people on issues ranging from water quality to tax strategies for lease and royalty income."

Craig Weidemann, vice president for Penn State Outreach, said the educational consortium is an example of the types of partnerships Outreach facilitates to benefit Pennsylvania.

"Bringing the resources of the University together with expertise of external partners to address the needs of our commonwealth is why Outreach exists," said Weidemann. "This educational consortium is a perfect example of a collaboration that is developed for the good of Pennsylvania citizens, communities and businesses."

More information about how Penn State is addressing issues related to the Marcellus Shale is available at Penn State Extension's natural-gas website and from the Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research.

Last Updated November 15, 2010