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Shale Watch: Follow the jobs, events and latest online reports

Running to keep up with the latest developments on the Marcellus Shale play from news to jobs to events? Here's a one-stop report on the news in a nutshell from the past month.

The best source for all things shale is University of Pittsburgh's Fractracker where information on well permits, drilling activity, infractions and news are updated regularly. Year to date 2010, Bradford county is in the lead with 498 permits. In southwestern Pa., Washington County is the busiest beehive with 186 permits issued so far; further down the list is Westmoreland at 51 and Fayette at 46. Pittsburgh Today has also added a Marcellus Shale site reporting on environment as well.

Pitt now has a special site compiling shale stats for Allegheny County where 7 percent of land area has been leased so far. (No drilling is currently taking place in the city.) Pittsburgh City Council is in unanimous support of a measure introduced by Sen. Jim Ferlo this summer to ban drilling in the state for one year pending further study.

Speaking of elected officials, former Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, was hired in July as a "strategic advisor" working for the Marcellus Shale Coalition, a consortium of drilling companies. Talisman Energy of Canada opened a new 52,000 square foot space in Cranberry and plans to employ 140 people by the end of the year, geologists, landsman and legal experts.

Two upcoming events: Filmmaker Josh Fox returns to Pittsburgh this Friday, Aug. 27th for another showing of the powerful documentary Gasland! in Frick Park at 8:15 p.m. The free event, part of the Rooftops Films Summer Series, will be preceded by live music and followed by a panel discussion of shale development in the region.

The Center for Healthy Environments and Communities (CHEC), the same people who brought us FracTracker, will hold a public forum, "What Do We Need To Know," on Friday afternoon, Aug. 27, to address the public health impact of gas drilling. Director Dan Volz, and several others will speak from 1:30 to 3 p.m. in G23 Parran Hall in Oakland. The discussion is free and open to the public.

Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Fractracker, Pittsburgh Today, Rooftops Films, CHEC

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