Webinar: A Decade of Environmental & Regulatory Progress in the Natural Gas Industry

Pittsburgh, PA – Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation, in cooperation with Marcellus Drilling News and Natural Gas Now hosted a Think About Energy Briefing webinar on Wednesday August 26, 2020.

Today’s webinar featured Patrick Henderson of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, Kathryn Klaber of the Klaber Group and Joseph Reinhart of Babst Calland.

The webinar provided attendees with a look back at the environmental and regulatory progress that has occurred since the shale industry started in earnest over a decade ago. Panelists discussed the numerous legislative, regulatory and best management practices that have evolved through cooperation and respect for the communities and environment in which the industry operates.

George Stark, Director, External Affairs, Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation, moderated today’s discussion. “We are fortunate to have panelists who have been involved in the shale industry for more than a decade in the Commonwealth. In each of their respective roles, they all had one common goal – how can we get this done the right way. The industry has made tremendous strides over the past decade and this would not have happened without the expertise of panelists like we have today,” said Stark.

Patrick Henderson, Director of Regulatory Affairs for the Marcellus Shale Coalition, focused on the environmental improvements in Pennsylvania and their impact on the quality of life.

“We’ve made terrific progress over the past decade in Pennsylvania, and because of safe and responsible natural gas development, our environment is better protected and our air quality is dramatically improved,” said Henderson. “Pennsylvania has among the highest of environmental standards for ensuring that natural gas is developed safely and responsibly, and our state Department of environmental Protections own data demonstrates that natural gas operators have among the highest environmental compliance rates of any industry in the Commonwealth.”

Henderson highlighted the shale industry’s commitment to getting it right from an environmental perspective.

“Industry has been at the forefront in demanding excellence in its operations and among its peers. Their employees are members of our local community, and they are rightfully proud of the many significant contributions they have made within their communities,” said Henderson. “Let there be no question: the safe and responsible development of Pennsylvania’s domestic natural gas resources has enhanced our environment; created job opportunities for those in need; strengthened our national security; and helped to elevate our Commonwealth as a leader on the world stage,” concluded Henderson.

Kathryn Klaber, managing partner of the Klaber Group, discussed the industry’s role during the early days of shale development and the involvement of the Marcellus Shale Coalition in the process.

“The early days in the Marcellus were all about earning the license to operate – achieved through authentic outreach to the many stakeholders who were quickly learning about our industry,” said Klaber.

Ms. Klaber helped to organize and served as the inaugural president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition. She discussed the member led approach to public outreach to a variety of stakeholders.

“Of the many proactive actions taken by the industry in the early years, none were to have as far reaching an impact as the many Recommended Practices, developed by the industry and shared with the public,” said Klaber. “The ability for the incredibly diverse companies across the industry to come together, identify priorities & work together to drive consensus on various topics was a monumental task. We then took those topics and created a unified outreach to partners & regulators.”

Joseph Reinhart, Co-Chair of the Environmental, Energy and Natural Resource Groups at Babst Calland, highlighted the regulatory changes as a result of shale development.

“Act 13 of 2012 expanded the existing reporting standards including tracking of waste water & air emissions data that operators are required to provide on an ongoing basis,” said Reinhart. “Operators are now required to report their completion fluids through the chemical disclosure registry Frac Focus.”

Reinhart went on to discuss the external influences and their impact on the progress of the shale industry.

“This past decade has clearly demonstrated the energy industry’s resiliency in the midst of price fluctuations, increased regulation, NGO opposition and policy changes, let alone the current pandemic and economic slowdown,” said Reinhart. “The industry has increased efficiencies even as lower commodity pricing squeezed margins, while at the same time seeking new markets.” Concluding his remarks, Reinhart discussed the midstream development as there are still areas across the United States that are lacking adequate supply. “Transportation options for moving natural resources from growing areas of production to customers continue to be built, even with new hurdles from regulators and other stakeholders.”

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