March 15 webinar will look at municipal water and shale drilling

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A Web-based seminar sponsored by Penn State Extension will examine municipalities’ roles related to water use and protection in the face of burgeoning Marcellus Shale gas development in Pennsylvania.

The 75-minute webinar will begin at 1 p.m. March 15.

Presenters are Charles Abdalla, professor of agricultural and environmental economics in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, and Peter Wulfhorst, extension educator based in Pike County, who specializes in economic and community development.

What’s on tap

Abdalla noted the webinar will address three topics: water sales, leasing of municipally owned watershed lands and municipalities’ potential role in regulating land use to protect water.

“My webinar presentation will provide an overview of what we know — and don’t know — about these municipal activities, and existing and potential future issues.”

Wulfhorst will discuss the environmental safeguards that may be available under Pennsylvania law to help municipalities protect water — specifically, the notification changes for both host municipality and adjacent municipality and landowners, and the requirement of a water-management plan not to adversely affect the quantity and quality of water resources.

He will also review the increase in well-location restrictions for existing buildings, water wells, wetlands, public water supplies and streams, and discuss rules under which gas operators will be presumed to be responsible for water-supply pollution.

How to listen

Information about how to register for the session is available on the webinar page of Penn State Extension’s natural gas website at http://extension.psu.edu/naturalgas/webinars.

Previous webinars, publications and information also are available on the website.

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

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