Penn State Cooperative Extension recently received the 2010 Friend of County Government Award from one of the commonwealth's most influential organizations. The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania recognized Extension's leadership and educational efforts on issues related to Marcellus Shale natural-gas exploration.
After College of Ag Sciences Geoscientist Terry Engelder discovered the natural gas production potential of Marcellus Shale, an army of U.S. gas industry land men and energy companies invaded northern and western Pennsylvania. With them came a meteoric rise in the need for unbiased factual information on leasing, landowner rights, environmental concerns related to drilling and pipeline development.
Penn State Extension rose to the challenge, hosting community meetings and webinars across the state to bring landowners and the local public up to speed on the historic "gas rush".
"We're very gratified to receive this honor," said Dennis Calvin, interim director of Penn State Cooperative Extension. "Pennsylvania's counties are key partners in our mission to provide research-based educational programming to the state's families, farms, communities and businesses. We are committed to continue our collaboration with the County Commissioners Association to find local and statewide solutions to the issues facing Pennsylvania."
The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania is a statewide, nonprofit, nonpartisan association of county commissioners, chief clerks, administrators and solicitors of 67 counties. Their support comes at a time when Penn State Extension is suffering continued state budget cuts due to deficit spending caused by the current economic recession.