Officials at Penn State University have invited Johnson County Commissioner John Matthews to serve as dinner speaker at the Pennsylvania Natural Gas Summit to be held Dec. 10-11. The summit focuses on challenges and opportunities related to the Marcellus Shale, which underlies parts of Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio and several other states. The Marcellus Shale, like the Barnett Shale, is one of the four major areas of natural gas play in the nation, Matthews said.

“They’re where we were about four years ago with the Barnett Shale,” Matthews said. “I’ll be speaking about the impact of gas exploration on the local economy, government, infrastructure and other issues.”

The summit is geared toward legislators and other elected officials, attorneys, planning officials and chamber of commerce and community group leaders. Speakers will cover a variety of challenges, opportunities and other matters concerning gas exploration in the area.

Penn State officials invited Matthews to speak at the summit after polling gas companies active in the Barnett Shale to determine elected officials who were knowledgeable of the industry, he said.

“I have something of a unique perspective having worked in the petrochemical industry for 15 years,” Matthews said. “And over the last six years I’ve been involved in [Barnett Shale] activity virtually every day and at the forefront of drafting policies and procedures to protect the county’s interests and work in conjunction with the gas companies.”

Matthews said he and other officials appreciated experts coming to Johnson County to talk and share information when Barnett Shale activity began.

“Six years ago, there wasn’t a single gas well in the county,” Matthews said. “I’m hoping we can help those people up there now that they’re just getting started and serve as a sounding board to answer their questions.”



On the Web:

www.outreach.psu.edu/programs/natural-gas.

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