PRI Marcellus outreach activities
PRI’s Role in Public Education About the Marcellus Shale
Natural gas exploration offers significant economic opportunities for rural economic development in New York, and can provide a cleaner burning fossil fuel to meet future energy demands. However, gas development can create challenges for private landowners, gas exploration companies, local governments, and the community at large. All parties must balance economic opportunity, environmental stewardship, and community well-being. This requires an informed public who understand the basics of not just the economic and environmental impact of drilling, but also the local geology.
PRI has received funding from the National Science Foundation to provide comprehensive, unbiased scientific information on many aspects of natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale to the public. Informational packets on topics including environmental impacts, life cycle analyses, geological considerations, and drilling technology will be issued throughout fall 2010, and will culminate in a short guidebook on the issues in 2011. PRI will also begin scheduling inservice and professional development on these issues in 2011.
In addition, three members of PRI’s Outreach Education staff currently serve on Cornell University Cooperative Extension’s Natural Gas Development Resource Center Marcellus Shale team, a group of researchers and educators who serve as a public resource for questions related to Marcellus Shale drilling. For more information about the Marcellus Shale, the Cornell Cooperative Extension Natural Gas website is an outstanding resources
PRI educators also are part of two grants from Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Cornell Center for a Sustainable Future related to outreach education about Marcellus Shale gas drilling. Three members of PRI’s outreach staff, along with members of Cornell’s Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Penn State University, and Cornell Cooperative Extension, are part of a study analyzing perceptions of natural gas drilling among residents of impacted communities, while providing outreach education about drilling in a series of talks located in Southern Tier counties, culminating in an annual “New York Natural Gas Summit” held for local government officials, landowner coalition representatives, and concerned citizens.
PRI educators also assist a team led by the Cornell Center for a Sustainable Future examining possible outcomes of green energy development in rural communities throughout New York State, including an outreach component designed to provide these communities strategies to react effectively to green energy development opportunities as they arise.