Penn State University and the Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research(MCOR) have been at the forefront of shale energy development providing educational programs to hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania residents, elected officials, landowners, and business groups. Our core outreach objective is to establish a science-based understanding of the many shale gas issues associated with the subject, allowing for the best possible decisions as they impact families, communities, businesses, and governmental jurisdictions through the state. MCOR collaborates with a wide range of Penn State faculty and staff and views the implications of shale energy in a holistic manner. As science underpins our outreach, we have been engaging in research to promote the protection of Pennsylvania's communities, along with its water and environmental resources, from potential adverse impacts of resource extraction.
MCOR offers a variety of outreach opportunities through workshops, public presentations, webinars, interviews, articles, education materials, and through direct contact. Although residents of the Commonwealth are the mainstay of our outreach efforts, we have been partnering with numerous international entities, as they look to learn from the shale energy exploration and production experience of Pennsylvania and surrounding states in the Appalachian basin. This rich global partnership, has allowed decision making and public policy here in PA, to benefit from the experiences of the international community, in this collective development of similar shale energy resources.
Please let us know how we can best serve you or your organization by contacting us.
Sample of Current Outreach Activities
- Translational Outreach for Pennsylvania Shale Energy Stakeholders
There continues to be ongoing demand from stakeholders, ranging from landowners to elected officials, to understand the trends associated to shale energy development in PA and beyond, as they impact individuals and communities of people. Examples include construction of new pipeline infrastructure, understanding emerging research on health implications of shale energy production, revenue generation policy, new legal precedent impacting municipalities and/or landowners, water resource protections, fugitive methane emission reduction, regulatory education, and a host of other important issues. MCOR is a trusted venue for this education and provides the needed translational component, as it has extensive and holistic experience with these topics, and has earned credibility with a wide range of audiences. This will continue to be a priority program from MCOR.
- Methane and Legacy Oil and Gas Infrastructure (MELI) Program
Penn State was recently awarded a significant grant by EPA to undertake the MELI program, which is designed to engender environmental stewardship, by using citizen science to investigate interactions between methane concentrations in water and unplugged orphan and abandoned oil and gas wells (OAWs) in Pennsylvania. MELI will educate communities about the infrastructure of legacy oil and gas wells, teach nonscientists how to assess potential methane contributions from such legacy infrastructure, engage communities in citizen science through water sampling, galvanize communities into action, and ultimately promote long-lasting environmental stewardship.
- Immersive Shale Experience
The Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research, in conjunction with the Penn State Cooperative Extension Marcellus Education Team, has engaged hundreds of participants in this educational outreach program, providing a rich opportunity to view shale energy exploration first-hand, seeing the impact of development in the community, and learning directly from key regional voices embedded in the shale dialogue. This multi-day educational experience is unique for each delegation, aligned and customized to address the priorities of the group. Conducted for international embassy staff, U.S. government agency personnel, elected officials, non-profit organizations(NGOs), O&G service industry staff, media representatives, and distant university collaborators, these programs will continue to be a focus for MCOR's outreach efforts.
- International Initiatives – Shale Outreach Globally
Our experience and international research/outreach network has led to MCOR being recognized as one of the foremost entities in shale energy development issues, which reflects upon Penn State as a global leader in energy research, and is consistent with Penn State becoming the "Energy University" in the U.S. MCOR personnel have engaged with representatives from over 50 countries on 6 continents in order to exchange insights and research outcomes. A number of these efforts are in conjunction with PA's Department of Economic and Community Development and the U.S. Department of State. In the near term, we will continue to place outreach emphasis on this global initiative, along with our priority programming in PA and surrounding states.
As one of several global initiatives, MCOR has entered into a funded cooperative agreement with the U.S. Dept. of State to provide in-country and distant (digital) education to government officials in Argentina, related to the development of the Vaca Muerta shale resource in the western region of the country. This energy program, which is a priority of the U.S. and Argentine government's, also has a direct benefit to PA, as many companies from the Commonwealth are deploying technology, staff, and experience from the Marcellus to the Vaca Muerta. This is generating a two way exchange of lessons learned in each respective location to benefit the other. Our multi-disciplinary Penn State team continues to speak to creation of successful regulatory protocols, governance, issues of social license, local workforce and business development, environmental/water risk mitigation, and legislative initiatives including revenue generation.