Appalachian Basin

Survey Shows Positive Relationship between Municipalities and Shale Gas Industry

A recent survey of elected leaders in Washington and Greene counties – Pennsylvania counties that host shale development – found local officials had generally positive experiences with natural gas companies.

The survey was developed and administered by the Center of Energy Policy and Management at Washington & Jefferson College in conjunction with Environmental Law Institute in Washington as part of a larger effort supported by the Heinz Endowments.

In its first round of surveys – sent out last fall – the college heard from 90 elected officials. From those 90 the survey found:

  • 80 percent said residents got jobs with the industry. Of those who disagreed, most cited lack of training or interest among residents.
  • Nearly 45 percent said Marcellus Shale development was good for municipal revenue; only 8.2 percent suggested it had a negative impact.
  • Over 70 percent reported a lack of conflict with the industry.

The survey is an initial look at how local municipalities are dealing with shale development within their borders and the effort operators are making to be good neighbors during phases of development. While it appears from the survey that the industry is moving in the right direction, they are always looking to make improvements.

Just two days after this survey was released, the American Petroleum Institute (API) released their ‘Good Neighbor’ standards for oil and natural gas developers. These standards highlight community engagement guidelines which are designed to promote the safe and responsible development of the nation’s oil and natural gas resources by engaging and respecting the communities where these operations occur.

API’s David Miller stated,

“The energy revolution is now occurring in areas of the country where oil and natural gas exploration doesn’t have the same history as Texas or Oklahoma. API’s community engagement guidelines will serve as a gold standard for good neighbor policies that address community concerns, enhance the long-term benefits of local development, and ensure a two-way conversation regarding mutual goals for community growth.”

From the survey and API’s new guidelines, it’s clear that the industry is striving for excellence in their day to day operations across the United States, all the while employing thousands hardworking Americans, lowering our energy costs, and supplying affordable feedstock for a manufacturing renaissance.

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