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http://www.yorkdispatch.com/sports/ci_18805968

SNYDER: Marcellus forum a great chance to get involved
COLUMN By ANDY SNYDER For The York Dispatch
Updated: 09/01/2011 05:07:12 PM EDT




This is an easy chance to get involved.

Over the past two years, the Marcellus Shale has been a hot topic of debate. It's dirty. It's dangerous. But, oh my, is it lucrative.

On one hand, it's created thousands of jobs and brought us a much-needed source of low-cost energy. On the other, drilling has led to polluted streams, scars across our landscape and a loss of wildlife habitat.

The fight between some much-needed income and the effects drilling may have on Mother Nature has divided the state.

But now you have a chance to get involved and have your voice heard.

At its fall convention, the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs (PFSC), along with the Keystone Energy Forum, will host an event worth attending. It will take place on Saturday, Sept. 17, and is called, "Pennsylvania Outdoors in Focus: Marcellus Shale Development and Penn's Woods."

For anybody interested in learning the facts behind the state's Marcellus Shale boom, it's an opportunity to get the straight scoop. There will be three panel discussions.

One will focus on the "what" and "where" aspects of drilling. The experts will talk about what's going on and where it's happening. Some parts of the state are barely aware of the gas boom. In other spots, you can't walk out the door without noticing the action.

The second panel will talk about how to interact with the drilling industry. Participants will tell us how to communicate with regulatory officials as well as how to be heard within the industry.

The final panel will be the crowd maker. The experts will debate a single question -- how will drilling affect our outdoor activities?

Two of the guest speakers at the event are among the "who's who" in the realm of conservation. James Mosher is currently a natural resources consultant, but he's been the executive director at the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and has worked for the federal government as a deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Interior.

Jim Grace is a former Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources deputy secretary and is currently the Maurice K. Goddard Chair in forestry and environmental resource conservation at Penn State.

In other words, if anybody understands what the Marcellus Shale means to the state's sportsmen, it's these two. They've made a career out of understanding what's happening.

If you're interested in attending the event, it will be held at the Harrisburg Radisson Hotel in Camp Hill. The forum, including a luncheon, is free, but the PFSC requires preregistration. To get your name on the list, call the group's office at (717) 232-3480 or visit http://www.pfsc.org.

Again, this is your chance to be a part of the debate. Marcellus Shale drilling will have a long-lasting effect on our state and our outdoor activities. Learn the facts. Be heard. And get involved.

Andy Snyder writes about the outdoors for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at [email protected] patch.com.
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