Industry experts, public brought together at Cabot picnic
BY STACI WILSON
Thousands flocked to the annual Cabot Community Picnic Saturday in Susquehanna County at the Harford Fairgrounds. Event organizers estimated about 8,000 people in attendance.
Cabot Landman Janice Lobdell said, “Everybody has been friendly and nice. It’s been a positive attitude and atmosphere.”
Lobdell fielded questions from Dave and Carol Potter of Bridgewater Twp. on how properties are included in a well unit.
Mrs. Potter said, “My husband is naturally inquisitive,” as Lobdell explained how neighboring properties were connected through horizontal laterals to form a unit.
The Cabot picnic provides the opportunity to bring people face-to-face with natural gas industry experts. “It’s a continuation of education and outreach,” Cabot spokesman George Stark said.
At the 2012 event, Cabot unveiled a CNG “tube trailer” used at drill sites to displace some of the diesel fuels in generators used to power the drill rigs. This year the tube trailer was brought back from the field and CNG was used to power some of grills where GasSearch Drilling Services Corp. employees were cooking burgers and hot dogs.
The event drew the attention of the governor’s office. Harry Forbes, Director of the Governor’s Northeast Office said, “The Marcellus Shale industry has been an important player in job growth in Pennsylvania.” He said he was interested in visiting the Leatherstocking Gas booth. Although Susquehanna County is rich in natural gas, there has been no natural gas available to residents as a utility option. “It’s amazing what we’re starting to see and where it’s starting to go,” Forbes said.
Leatherstocking is natural gas distribution company that has been awarded franchises in several Susquehanna County communities from the PUC. The company recently broke ground in the Montrose area and lines are being installed to hook up the Endless Mountains Health Systems facility which is under construction, as well as the Montrose Area Jr./Sr. High School.
“When is it coming? And what is it going to cost me?” Those were the two most asked questions at the Leatherstocking booth said Russell Miller, vice president gas supply and marketing. “Most people understand that it’s still a couple of years off for most of them (to have natural gas available). The distribution lines are expected to be run into the boroughs of Montrose and New Milford in 2014, according to Miller.
Local gas service is not the only benefit brought by the industry. Other local businesses and organizations represented at the picnic are also experiencing a positive impact.
Bluestone Association President Todd Schmidt said, “The natural gas industry has given some of the guys with quarries the opportunity to sell rock they otherwise couldn’t sell in the form of crushed stone used for roads and well pads.”
John Ord, Susquehanna County delegate to the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs said the industry has benefited volunteer organizations including his local New Milford Rifle and Pistol Club which leased its acreage. But Ord also sees the other side. “There is a strong hunting tradition in Pennsylvania,” he said. “We want to make sure they do things with the least impact to the environment.”