2010-03-04 / Front Page

County Gets Marcellus Shale Update

Counties urged to be “proactive”
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

The Fulton County commissioners received an update on the Marcellus shale initiative Tuesday by a local extension office educator, who recently participated in an informational conference call with the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania.

Greg Strait with the Fulton County Extension Office presented commissioners Bonnie Mellott Keefer, David Hoover II and Craig Cutchall with an outline of the topics covered during the discussion spearheaded by CCAP officials. Among the issues reviewed were both the negative and positive impacts of Marcellus shale drilling as determined by Kathy Brazine of Penn State University, who completed a research effort that spanned Bradford, Washington and Lycoming counties and an additional county in New York state.

Brazine, Strait reported, determined that attitudes regarding job opportunities have improved and as a result younger residents are wanting to stay in their communities. There has also been a population growth with more individuals moving into certain areas. However, population growth, as outlined by Brazine, can also affect communities negatively with an influx of individuals moving into a rural setting from urban areas.

Another negative issue that has come to fruition as a result of Marcellus shale is an inequality between individuals and skyrocketing rent and housing prices.

The future, according to the information presented by Brazine, will likely include a strain on various infrastructure, including schools and hospitals, as well as increased pressure on law enforcement authorities with increased drug and alcohol arrests.

As a result of the information shared, the commissioners learned Washington County, Pa. remains split on whether Marcellus shale will have a lasting positive or negative effect after having encountered similar issues with the coal mining industry.

CCAP officials were instructed by Brazine, Strait said, to be proactive in several areas, including in drug and alcohol, probation and domestic relations, and especially housing.

Strait reminded the commissioners at the conclusion of his presentation that local residents should speak with legal counsel before signing off on any Marcellus shale lease agreements.

Land-use planner Steve Thomas updated the commissioners on ongoing stormwater planning. Thomas touched on the creation of ordinances, future meeting dates and reimbursement costs from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

The commissioners approved several individuals to serve a oneyear term on the Area Agency on Aging Citizens Advisory Board. Those receiving a nod of approval were Glenn Ward, Warfordsburg; Bob McDonald, Needmore; Betty Malot, Hustontown; Ray Anderson, McConnellsburg; Franklin “Huck” Smith, Fort Littleton; Pauline Lynch, Needmore; Jane Koehler, Mc- Connellsburg; and alternate member Virginia McDonald of Needmore.

Domestic relations officer Rachel Sheaffer submitted her resignation effective March 17.

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