W&J Shale Gas Knowledge Hub Releases Briefing on Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force Report

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The Shale Gas Knowledge Hub at Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) has released a report that makes an important set of shale gas recommendations more accessible to the public.

The Shale Gas Knowledge Hub at Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) has released a report that makes an important set of shale gas recommendations more accessible to the public.

The original 335-page draft report was issued in November by the Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force (PITF), a committee appointed by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf to ensure that pipeline infrastructure is developed, operated, and maintained in an environmentally protective and community-sensitive way. The PITF report examines standards and guidelines for developing the extensive natural gas pipeline build-out set to occur in Pennsylvania over the next several years.

To help the public understand the draft recommendations and comment on them, the W&J report breaks down and identifies the key concepts of the PITF report. The W&J report is available on the Shale Gas Knowledge Hub website (http://shalehub.org/).

The Pipeline Infrastructure task force is accepting comments on its report until Dec. 29, 2015. The PITF draft report and a link to submit comments can be found on the Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force webpage (http://www.dep.pa.gov/Business/ProgramIntegration/PipelineTaskForce) of the PA DEP (http://www.dep.pa.gov).

As Pennsylvania’s shale gas industry has matured, its focus has turned to the creation of pipelines to transport natural gas and by-products to market. Currently, there are roughly 12,000 miles of gas pipelines in the state and this number is expected to quadruple to 48,000 miles by 2030. The pipelines will intersect many more communities than those now hosting the wells and processing facilities associated with gas extraction.

The PITF is charged with collaborating in a transparent process with all stakeholders to develop recommendations for policies and best practices to govern the pipeline build-out. The PITF will submit to the Governor a report of final recommendations in February 2016 that will guide how state government oversees the pipeline build-out.

“It is very important that the citizens of Pennsylvania understand the issues associated with the midstream sector of the shale gas industry and take advantage of this opportunity to have a say in how the pipeline development will occur,” said Diana Stares, Director of the W&J Center for Energy Policy and Management (CEPM). “Because of the length and complexity of the Draft Report we at W&J concluded that the public needed a synthesized summary, like ours, to help it to identify and comment on the issues of particular concern to them.”

The Shale Gas Knowledge Hub, a project of W&J’s Center for Energy Policy and Management (CEPM) was created with the support and funding of the Richard King Mellon Foundation. It is a resource center that helps the public better understand the shale gas industry and its impacts on southwestern Pennsylvania. The Knowledge Hub interprets research and data, presents its findings on a website and in publications, provides training to the public, conducts outreach to local officials in communities hosting shale gas wells and facilities, and answers questions from the public about the development.

W&J has two partners in the Knowledge Hub: the Local Government Academy, a Pittsburgh-based, independent and non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting excellence in local government; and the Environmental Law Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based and internationally recognized non-partisan research and education institute that addresses environmental law, policy and management.

“The R.K. Mellon Foundation asked W&J to create the Shale Gas Knowledge Hub because it believes that an informed public can make the best possible choices about the shale gas development which is projected to continue in Pennsylvania for many years. A prime example of this is the pipeline infrastructure that is now being evaluated. We at W&J, in concert with our partners, are working to provide an objective assessment of the relevant issues and help to inform the public decision-making,” said Stares.

To learn more about the Shale Gas Knowledge Hub, visit its website at http://www.shalehub.org.

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Karen Oosterhous
@wjcollege
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