Unconventional oil and gas development has been a part of the landscape in Western Pennsylvania and the surrounding region for years. Because of local, national, and global events, public sentiment and policies are constantly evolving. A number of local organizations and institutions have hosted workshops, written reports, and established protocols to encourage dialogue on how to best address the economic, environmental, and societal impacts related to the issue.

Marcellus shale gas-drilling site along PA Route 87, Lycoming County. Photo credit: Nicholas Tonelli

Our 2017 event built on the work of our previous symposium and studies by focusing on one of several areas that have been identified by the community as a critical need. During this year’s workshop, attendees engaged in networking events and round-table discussions. Attendees also had the opportunity to participate in auxiliary events geared toward science communication and strengthening partnerships with local communities.

Work That Informs GeoPolicy Connect:

Among those previous and ongoing efforts that have informed this GeoPolicy Connect event are:

  • a workshop hosted by the Nature Conservancy and Carnegie Mellon University, titled “Advancing the Next Generation of Environmental Practices for Shale Development”; the Center for Responsible Shale Development, which brought together environmental and gas industry leaders to drive innovation and improve shale development practices in the Appalachian Basin by establishing voluntary performance standards and a certification process;
  • the Shale Gas Roundtable, a 3-year University of Pittsburgh initiative that brought together cross-sector stakeholders to better support environmental protection, community quality of life and economic development goals; and,
  • the Shale Gas Knowledge Hub Initiative at Washington and Jefferson College’s Center for Energy Policy and Management, which serves as a source of reliable, impartial information about shale gas development in Pennsylvania.