Written by Therese Dorau, Program Manager – Community & Economic Resilience.
Because of the many on-the-ground services counties provide, our members experience unique opportunities and impacts due to shale oil and gas development. Expanding economies, booming populations, and administration all bring challenges. While many NACo members have as much as a century of experience with energy exploration and development, shale resources are also found in counties that have never before worked with the energy industry. To help our members prepare for and manage these changes, NACo is bringing together energy industry associations, environmental non-profits, economic and rural research specialists, and our very own experienced members to provide county-focused education, training, and resources.
When discussing development of this scale, it’s easy to feel that energy issues are too wrought with debate, that there isn’t enough public or even internal consensus to act, or that major decisions are outside of local control. However, there are many ways that county governments can play active roles in local and regional conversations that significantly shape the shale development process. NACo’s County Solutions and Innovation division approaches these tough questions by focusing on empowering county governments with strategies to maximize benefits of development while actively managing impacts.
First, NACo held a webinar on May 2nd, uncovering early indicators of energy industry activity and discussing what county governments can do to prepare for growth. Then, on June 27th, a second webinar provided background on the stages of shale energy development, a framework for discussing environmental protection in development areas, and advice from a Pennsylvania commissioner who had been through the shale gas process.
Building on these two webinars, NACo is excited to host the in-depth Shale Impacted Counties Forum at the County Solutions and Idea Marketplace in Tarrant County, Texas. Attendees will spend the morning designing a framework for governing a changing region and leave with several ideas for new programs, policies, and partnerships – from the counties and industry representatives who know the issues best.
We hope you can join us at the forum. All registered for the conference are welcome to attend – just come on in! For questions about NACo’s shale programming, contact Therese Dorau at firstname.lastname@example.org.