The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

December 29, 2012

Gas drilling companies work on relations

PITTSBURGH — Some gas drilling companies that spent years fighting, threatening and suing reluctant communities took a new tack in 2012: collaboration.

Some drillers in Pennsylvania have hired local residents to act as liaisons and ramped up communication efforts, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Friday. Most municipal officials the newspaper interviewed now give drillers credit for improving communication and responding quickly when problems arise.

For example, XTO Energy — an Exxon Mobil Corp. subsidiary — set up a community advisory board in Butler County, about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh.

“XTO (Energy) has been great to work with,” said Lois Rankin, a supervisor in Jefferson. “Each and every time there’s been an issue ... they’ve come through and complied and fixed it.”

That kind of effort was largely missing in the early years of shale gas development in Pennsylvania, said Gregory Kallenberg, a filmmaker who toured the state this year for a program Shell Oil Co. sponsored.

“They were coming into the area ... without the attention they should give to communication and community relations that they seem to have now,” Kallenberg said by phone from his office in Louisiana.

A boom in drilling has taken place in parts of the Marcellus Shale, which lies under Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The procedure called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has made it possible to tap into deep reserves of oil and gas. But fracking has raised concerns about pollution, since large volumes of water, along with sand and hazardous chemicals, are injected underground to break rock apart and free the oil and gas.   

The industry and many federal and state officials say the practice is safe when done properly, but environmental groups and some scientists say there hasn’t been enough research on possible pollution issues.

Some of the impetus to change comes from within the industry.

In a strategy paper on combatting the anti-fracking movement, analyst Jonathan Wood of Control Risks, a global consulting company, advised drillers to acknowledge that communities have legitimate grievances, in order to begin to repair a “crippling trust deficit.”

Wood advised, among other things, openness, voluntary disclosure and “meaningful consultations” with communities, rather than “didactic information sessions to market the presumed benefits of drilling.”

Range Resources, a driller based in Fort Worth, Texas, has been at the center of several heated disputes.

“We’re probably more active listeners now, so we’re probably better able to hone in on what local governments need from us,” said Jim Cannon, whose job at Range focuses on local government relations. “A couple years ago, maybe we weren’t as sensitive to it. ... Now we recognize how vital it really is.”

Some officials note that drilling companies vary widely in how they do business.

1
Text Only
World, nation, state
  • Lordstown eyes fall rollout of updated Cruze

    Production of the updated Chevrolet Cruze is tentatively set to begin early this fall at the General Motors facility in Lordstown, a plant official confirmed.
     

    April 17, 2014

  • A year after background check defeat, modest goals

    Democratic worries about this November’s elections, a lack of Senate votes and House opposition are forcing congressional gun-control supporters to significantly winnow their 2014 agenda, a year after lawmakers scuttled President Barack Obama’s effort to pass new curbs on firearms.
     

    April 17, 2014

  • College Board provides a glimpse of new SAT

    Anxious students — not to mention their parents — can get a heads-up for how the redesigned SAT might look in two years.
     

    April 17, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 12.51.22 PM.png VIDEO: Toddler climbs into vending machine

    A child is safe after climbing into and getting stuck inside a claw crane machine at a Lincoln, Neb., bowling alley Monday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Poll finds Clinton trouncing entire GOP field

    Hillary Clinton isn’t only the strong front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, but she’s well ahead of every potential Republican rival, according to a new McClatchy-Marist Poll.
     

    April 16, 2014

  • Ukraine bares teeth against eastern uprising

    In the first Ukrainian military action against a pro-Russian uprising in the east, government forces repelled an attack Tuesday by about 30 gunmen at an airport, beginning what the president called an “anti-terrorist operation” to try to restore authority over the restive region.
     

    April 16, 2014

  • U.N. Security Council sees grim images of Syrian dead

    The U.N. Security Council fell silent Tuesday after ambassadors viewed a series of ghastly photographs of dead Syrian civil war victims, France’s ambassador said. The pictures showed people who were emaciated, with their bones protruding, and some bearing the marks of strangulation and repeated beatings, and eyes having been gouged out.

    April 16, 2014

  • U.S.: Russia causing Ukraine unrest

    The White House on Monday said there was “overwhelming evidence” that Russia is fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine, but suggested that President Barack Obama has not yet concluded that Vladimir Putin’s actions warrant broader sanctions on key Russian economic sectors.

    April 15, 2014

  • Woman arrested after dead babies found

    A Utah woman accused of killing seven babies she gave birth to over 10 years was arrested Sunday after police discovered the tiny bodies stuffed in separate cardboard boxes in the garage of her former home.

    April 14, 2014

  • Rome man killed in crash

    The Ohio State Highway Patrol Chardon Post is investigating a fatal crash that took place just after midnight Sunday.

    April 14, 2014

House Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video