Guest post from Bill desRosiers – Coordinator, External Affairs:
Though I had dreams of relaxing during the week following the very successful Third Annual Cabot Community Picnic, I knew better than to think my job as an External Affairs Coordinator would ever be a piece of cake.
Monday included a follow up visit from Esquire magazine where the writer at large had the opportunity to meet with Jerry Dugas (drilling Superintendent) and Larry Fulmer (Completions Superintendent) to discuss the technical aspects of Cabot’s development in the region. Over lunch, Peter Quigg from the Community Foundation of the Endless Mountains joined Esquire’s writer for a captivating account of economic improvement here in Susquehanna County.
Sparing no opportunity to promote the new hospital, Peter explained the very successful community match program Cabot initiated just six months ago. After lunch, Tom Shepstone from Energy in Depth: Northeast Marcellus, joined Esquire for some rhetoric and clarification of certain myths associated with natural gas development.
Tuesday and Wednesday brought the rare but very exciting opportunity to teach teachers. No, that is not a typo.
John Cosgrove of Condron & Company and I participated in Keystone College’s Environmental Education Institute (KCEEI) forum on Climate Change and the Energy Challenge. This course, offered to teachers grades 7 – 12, engaged participants to:
- Understand the natural trends in climate change over geologic history
- Investigate the parameters and assumptions involved in climate prediction
- Explore alternative energy sources such as wind, solar and nuclear
- Natural gas opportunities and issues in the region
- Learn about electric vehicle technology
- Outline sustainability practices that can be used in schools
Tuesday was the in-class portion of this program which covered modern shale development from a 3,000 ft perspective and generated some interesting questions, including the truth behind the infamous “Halliburton loophole.” Avoiding a very long-winded answer as to why no such loophole exists, allow me to present some expert testimony from Armando Benincasa, lawyer for Steptoe and Johnson:
“The 2005 law put into legislation what had been up to that time the accepted (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) policy/interpretation that oil and gas exploration activities were not subject to the restrictions of the Safe Drinking Water Act… Oil and gas exploration were never intended to be subject to the Safe Drinking Water Act.”
Wednesday opened the class up to a set of unique experiences; site visits to a wind turbine, a Proctor & Gamble plant in Wyalusing, Pa., and a Cabot natural gas well drill site. The group had the opportunity to tour the Bunnel site where environmental stewardship is balanced very well with natural gas development. On site, the class had the opportunity to see Cabot’s stringent Erosion and sedimentation control, containment protocols and closed loop system. Next, the group toured the completed and partially reclaimed Greenwood well site. Here the class saw firsthand how small of an environmental footprint natural gas development creates.
I had a brief respite from the heat Thursday when I attended the 15th Annual Wyoming / Susquehanna Equipment Show at Lazy Brook Park in Tunkhannock, Pa. At the event, I had the opportunity to interact with local government officials from all over the northern tier.
On Friday, Cabot had the opportunity to display one of its new CNG powered Chevy Silverado’s. These converted trucks make up the backbone of Cabot’s transportation fleet here in Susquehanna County. Each vehicle can run on gasoline but, through the use of a special fueling station, Cabot’s employees proudly drive vehicles powered by clean burning natural gas while reducing its environmental footprint. Oh, by the way, CNG costs roughly $.55 as compared to over $3.00 a gallon gasoline. Each student had the opportunity to ride along in a vehicle and experience the many benefits of CNG. To wrap up this class and practically the week, a discussion was held to clear up any question class might have had on CNG, natural gas development, conservation, electric cars and the environment.
More on KCEEI
Keystone College’s Environmental Education Institute (KCEEI), is funded by Keystone College, the P&G Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and The Overlook Estate Foundation with other grants pending. The Institute is committed to enhancing the teaching experience by providing hands-on, inquiry based science and environmental education to educators using nature as a laboratory.
KCEEI’s courses and workshops provide a wonderful learning atmosphere. Keystone College’s 165-acre Woodland Campus, ponds, streams, wetlands, Lake Manataka Environmental Field Station, and Little Rocky Glen provide unparalleled opportunities.