Extension sites offer reliable information on oil and gas development

University Extension websites offer an excellent gateway to non-biased, research-based oil and gas development resources.

A simple online search for issues related to oil and gas development turns up millions of hits.   Government agencies, industry organizations, citizen groups and individuals post a bewildering amount of information about this industry and the controversy surrounding it.  Finding non-biased information about oil and gas leasing, hydraulic fracturing (fracking), impacts and economic data is challenging.

Four web sites hosted by state Extension services offer an excellent starting point for landowners and individuals to find reliable, university-based information on many oil and gas topics:

MSU Extension Oil and Gas portal page – This site is designed to help landowners and local officials learn more about oil and gas leasing, the issues related to natural gas exploration and sources of information.  Much of the information on this site is Michigan-specific, with links to agencies and other organizations.  Also includes listing of upcoming MSU Extension oil and gas workshops.

Pennsylvania State University Extension Natural Gas Information Site – Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale formation is the epicenter of greatly increased non-conventional natural gas production in the U.S.  Since 2001, Penn State Extension has actively helped citizens, landowners, businesses and local governments understand the opportunities and challenges associated with Marcellus shale development.  Great source of information about many of the positive benefits and challenges associated with natural gas development.  Even though the resources are about Pennsylvania geology, many of the fact sheets and videos are helpful in other areas.  A related site, the Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research includes additional education materials and research reports.

Cornell University Cooperative Extension Natural Gas Development Resource Center – This site brings together academic research, industry analysis, and information for local officials and citizens.  Part of the Marcellus shale formation extends into New York.  The focus is on New York, obviously, but includes useful information for Michigan.

The Ohio State University Subsurface Energy Resource Center - The goal of the Subsurface Energy Resource Center is to “contribute to the knowledge of subsurface resource development and its associated environmental issues, as well as serve as a resource to policy makers.” Recent industry reports in Michigan stated that our Collingwood-Utica formation, the focus of much attention in this state, is similar in characteristics to Ohio’s shale layers.

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