Penn State webinar addresses Marcellus Shale water-policy issues

July 08, 2009

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Water is a necessary part of the process of extracting natural gas from the Marcellus Shale Formation, and Pennsylvania residents should concern themselves with the creation of public policies for managing and protecting water resources, according to a water-policy expert in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

"Individuals, businesses and communities will be affected well into the future if the Marcellus shale is fully developed," said Charles Abdalla, professor of agricultural and environmental economics. "Citizens need to become aware of their stake in water-resource issues and policies, and effectively participate in public policy-making. Public policies for water management and protection will be improved if the affected parties, which includes almost everyone, are well-informed about likely impacts and take advantage of opportunities to participate in decisions."

Abdalla will address existing and newly developing water quantity and quality issues during a free Penn State Cooperative Extension online seminar at 1 p.m. on July 23. Information about how to register for the webinar is available at Participants will have the opportunity to ask the speaker questions during the webinar.

Seeking to engage residents, landowners, federal and state agency personnel, environmental organizations, economic development groups and others, Abdalla will discuss the rapidly changing issues and public policies related to water resources and Marcellus Shale gas exploration. Marcellus Shale gas development could have major economic and environmental effects on Pennsylvanians and residents of neighboring states. Adequate supplies of water are one of several essential inputs needed to extract gas from the shale. Waste water created during extraction that must be treated properly.

"During this webinar, we hope to increase the public's understanding of policy issues and options to improve water management, and to help people understand how and where they can offer input into decisions about water use and wastewater treatment," Abdalla said. "Now is the time for people to learn about and help shape public policies that will guide development of the Marcellus Shale. These policies will play a large part in determining the economic well-being and quality of life for residents of the commonwealth for a long time -- perhaps generations -- to come."

The webinar is the latest in a series of online workshops initiated by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences and Penn State Cooperative Extension to address issues related to Marcellus Shale gas exploration and development. Previous webinars have covered topics such as socio-economic implications, gas leasing, water use, forest and wildlife impacts, governmental roles, and community planning, and can be viewed at

For more information, contact Joann Kowalski, Penn State extension educator in Susquehanna County, at (570) 278-1158 or by e-mail at

Last Updated July 13, 2009