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Two March forums will focus on Marcellus drilling

PENN YAN, WATKINS GLEN—There will be two different forums concerning Marcellus Shale drilling held during March.
The first is Tuesday, March 15, at the Penn Yan Middle School auditorium. The second is March 30 at the Harbor Hotel in Watkins Glen. There are no fees to attend.
The Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes is sponsoring the forum in Penn Yan. It will run from 7 to 9 p.m. and focus on the impact of hydraulic fracturing (hydrofracking) on farming and agriculture.
The speakers will be:
• Ron Gulla and Terry Greenwood, farmers from Washington County, Pa. Both will speak on their personal experiences with gas drilling companies.
• Leslie Lewis, New York City attorney. She will share information on leases.
• Ellen Harrison, founder of Fleased Organization. She will speak about her research and experiences as a landowner dealing with gas companies.
• Art Hunt, co-owner of Hunt Country Vineyards. His presentation is called “Lessons Learned and Considerations for the Future.”
Klaas Martens, organic farmer, will serve as moderator.
The Harbor Hotel will host a forum on how Marcellus Shale drilling may affect businesses in Schuyler County, March 30.
The event is being organized by the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED), Schuyler County Cornell Cooperative Extension, and the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Tim Kelsey, professor of agriculture economics and state program leader of economic and community development at Penn State University, and Dr. Susan Christopherson, professor in the department of city and regional planning at Cornell University and economic geographer, will be the guest speakers.
SCOPED Executive Director Kelsey Jones said the forum is about how businesses can prepare for the economic impacts of Marcellus Shale drilling. He explained when drilling came to Bradford, Pa., businesses didn’t know how to handle the sudden increase in customer traffic. Jones used a diner as an example and how it tried to hire more staff.
“Will that impact be felt here? It could,” he said.
Jones added the forum would not be about the pros and cons of Marcellus Shale drilling.
Reservations are required no later than March 25 by calling SCOPED at 535-4341. Registration on the day of the event starts at 5:45 p.m, followed by the speakers from 6:30 to 8 p.m. There will be a reception afterwards.



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