Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2011PA155B

Understanding Municipal Officials Decisions to Lease Watershed Lands for Marcellus Shale Gas Exploration

Institute: Pennsylvania
Year Established: 2011 Start Date: 2011-03-01 End Date: 2012-02-29
Total Federal Funds: $18,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $43,769

Principal Investigators: Charles Abdalla

Abstract: Abstract: The proposed study addresses impacts of Marcellus Shale /natural gas exploration in Pennsylvania. The project brings together an interdisciplinary team to investigate the process by which local leaders make decisions about leasing rights to explore for and extract gas from the Marcellus shale under watershed land owned by their municipality. To adequately educate and assist these leaders and their constituencies, greater understanding is needed of: a) municipal officials motivations to lease mineral rights under their watershed lands; b) municipal officials knowledge of expected short-term and long-term benefits and costs, particularly to water quality, of leasing watershed lands; and c) the processes used by these officials for balancing expected benefits and costs. This will be accomplished by: 1) conducting interviews with state-level representatives of agencies and organizations; 2) conducting in-depth interviews with leaders from selected municipalities in regions with Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania; 3) analyzing the data collected and developing conclusions; 4) facilitating the review of findings; and 5) developing information and materials based on the findings for use in a broader research proposal(s) and for presentation in Extension/Outreach activities by Penn State University and other organizations.