Webinar explores development and regulation of Marcellus Shale drilling


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A web-based seminar presented by Penn State Extension July 21 will explore pipeline development and regulation in regions of the state being intensely affected by drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation.

Speaking in the webinar will be Wayne County extension educator Dave Messersmith, based in Honesdale, who is part of Penn State’s Marcellus education team and coordinates the university’s annual Marcellus Summit, and Paul Metro, chief of the gas safety division of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.


They will discuss pipeline construction, associated surface infrastructure (valves, compressor stations, etc.), pipeline impacts on the landscape and in communities, ways to reduce pipeline impacts, negotiating terms for a pipeline right-of-way and regulatory oversight of gas pipelines in Pennsylvania.

There have been more than 2,349 wells drilled into the deep Marcellus layer in Pennsylvania in the last few years, primarily in the southwest, northeast and northcentral regions. Many pipelines have been and are being built to get the large volume of gas they produce to consumers.

What it is

A pipeline right-of-way is a strip of land over and around natural gas pipelines where some of the property owner’s legal rights have been granted to a pipeline operator, Messersmith explained. A right-of-way agreement between the pipeline company and the property owner is also called an easement, which is usually filed in the county register and recorders office with property deeds.

“Many people are concerned about eminent domain as it relates to pipelines,” he said. “In reality the type of pipeline — whether it’s a gathering line or an interstate transmission line — will determine who provides regulatory oversight and whether eminent domain is possible.”


Penn State Extension offers a publication called Negotiating Pipeline Rights-of-Way in Pennsylvania, which Messersmith authored, for people interested in knowing more about pipeline issues. Part of the Marcellus Fact Sheet Series, single copies can be obtained free of charge by Pennsylvania residents through county Penn State Extension offices or by contacting the College of Agricultural Sciences Publications Distribution Center at 814-865-6713 or by e-mail at AgPubsDist@psu.edu.

The publication also is available online at http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/FreePubs/PDFs/ua465.pdf

The July 21 webinar is part of a series of online workshops addressing opportunities and challenges related to the state’s Marcellus Shale gas boom.


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