The challenge and importance of finding common ground in public discussions about the ongoing implications of shale energy development will be the topic of a web-based seminar offered by Penn State Extension.
The one-hour webinar, "The Value of Strong Stakeholder Engagement," will be presented by Thomas Murphy, co-director of the Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research, at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15.
In a society that finds itself increasingly polarized on many topics, it sometimes can be difficult to find middle ground on issues that impact our lives personally or the communities where we live, noted Murphy. This is particularly the case in public discussions of the implications of shale energy development.
"The expectations, perceptions, concerns and benefits expressed by those involved in the development of this energy resource continue to shape and impact the outcomes of shale-gas-related projects," he said. "Thus there's a need to engage people and groups in dialogue that has a foundation built on science-based facts and trends."
Understanding where to meet your audience's concern regarding an issue is important, Murphy pointed out.
"Someone's concern may not be on how the process is done on a technical basis, but on whether or not benefits or risks are viewed as possible vs. probable," he said. "It is vital that an audience can engage in a discussion to understand fact-based information on the topics addressed, to help build a better basis for their view on the subject."
The presentation is part of Penn State Extension's Shale Education Monthly Webinar Series. Upcoming webinars include the following:
— March 15: "Research on Natural Gas Foam as a Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid," presented by Griffin Beck, research engineer with the Propulsion and Energy Machinery section of Southwest Research Institute.
— April 19: "Hydraulic Fracturing Test Site: Field Test Site in the Permian Basin Dedicated to Environmental Safety and Stimulation Efficiency Research," presented by Jordan Ciezobka, senior engineer with Gas Technology Institute, and Gary Covatch, petroleum engineer with the U.S. Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory.
— May 17: "Trends in Natural Gas Indexation and Price Transparency," presented by Dexter Steis, executive publisher of Natural Gas Intelligence.
The webinar is free, but registration is necessary. To register, visit the Penn State Extension Natural Gas Events webpage. More information is available by contacting Carol Loveland at 570-320-4429 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previous webinars, publications and information also are available on the Penn State Extension natural-gas website, covering a variety of topics such as liquid natural gas; seismic testing; methane emissions; water use and quality; Marcellus and Utica basins; natural gas reserves; gas-leasing considerations for landowners; legal issues surrounding gas development; and the impact of Marcellus gas development on forestland.