2018-02-03 / Front Page

Gas/oil group courts counties

County commissioners in Pennsylvania are being courted to join a new organization that promotes the gas and oil industry. So far, neither Potter nor Cameron County has signed on.

Among goals of the Pennsylvania Council of Energy-Producing Counties is to promote fossil fuel production and its related economic development through statewide and national advocacy. Commissioners from many of the counties that are seeing a significant amount of shale gas activity are spearheading the group, which will be formalizing its operations in the coming months.

Representatives from Tioga, Bradford, Jefferson, Clearfield, Lycoming, Sullivan, Wyoming, Lawrence and Mercer attended the group’s most recent meeting. McClure Association Consultants has been retained to guide the council’s development. Basic elements of its mission statement were agreed upon, including:

• Promote the energy industry in Pennsylvania.

• Promote a state energy plan. • Provide a voice for energy-producing counties and their residents on preand post-production matters.

• Provide advocacy services to energy producing counties on matters exclusive to energy production.

• Create a forum to consistently monitor producer actions and marketplace developments.

• Maintain a platform for tracking, monitoring, and mapping of energy production and production facilities.

• Offer meetings for energy-related educational programs and for networking.

Potter County Commissioners have not formally discussed the council invitation, according to Commissioner Paul Heimel.

“Some of the goals -- for instance, promoting an energy plan and providing educational programs -- may be worthy, but I’d like to see some evidence that the council’s activities are not influenced by vested interests,” Heimel said. “I’d like to see an indication that the council supports energy sources other than gas and oil.”

Heimel and Commissioner Phil Jones both serve on the Natural Gas Task Force for the County Commissioners Assn. of Pa. That organization focuses on educating county officials about energy issues and guiding CCAP in its own state government advocacy activities.

Jones confirmed that Cameron County has been courted by the Council of Energy-Producing Counties.

“I’ve been watching and listening, but I still have some concerns about the council, so I am taking a wait-and-see attitude,” Jones acknowledged. “We already have a good rapport with CCAP’s Natural Gas Task Force.”

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