Nemacolin Energy Institute – 2013 Shale Energy Conference

Ed Burghard

Latest News On Shale Energy

The Nemacolin Energy Institute is a 501 c(6) organization with the mission “to help public and private sector leaders understand the facts about all energy sources in moving America to energy independence. To foster local, regional and national energy planning decisions based on facts and not misunderstanding.”  To achieve this mission, the NEI brings people together with the right information to discuss solutions to some of our Nation’s most important energy challenges.

This is the fourth year NEI has supported a Shale Energy Conference held at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort.  This year’s event had a fantastic slate of high-calibar speakers.  I took notes from each talk and thought I would share them with you.  My notes are not verbatim quotes.  They are simply my interpretation of what each speaker said.  I think you will find the notes provide a decent overview of the information shared at the Conference.  There were talks from elected officials, industry executives, educators and the CEO of Trout Unlimited (a thrill for me to meet because I fly fish and am a TU member).  This is a highly diverse set of speakers with important knowledge worth sharing.

In full disclosure, I am a founding member of the Nemacolin Energy Institute.

I hope you find my notes both interesting and helpful.

Congressional Panel Discussion

Congressman Bill Johnson (Ohio)

Congressman Keith Rothfus (PA)

Congressman Glenn Thompson (PA)

  • This country has never had a national energy plan and needs one.
  • We need to reduce dependence on energy sourced from outside North America.
  • Our nation has great resources.
  • The intellectual capacity of our nation should be acknowledged and part of a national energy policy.
  • We need to do a better job of developing skilled workers to support the energy industry.
  • We are doing a better job of getting science and facts communicated instead of emotion and myth.
  • We need to get the natural gas price to a point that is good for everybody.  We do that through increased utilization, and potentially export.
  • If we had a real national energy policy, our nation would benefit from a renaissance of innovation that would rival the period following the space program.
  • To get a national energy policy and vision it will take the American people demanding it.
  • We need to explain to the American people what energy independence means so we change the discussion at the dinner table.
  • We need to connect the personal benefits of energy independence to help put the American Dream back in play.
  • We are on the precipice of a new era of innovation and the energy industry is in a unique position to propel a genuine and sustainable vision.
  • We can “relight” America.  The energy industry can stimulate a boom in the economy.
  • The energy industry job growth is impressive, but it will also impact job growth in other sectors so even more families will benefit.
  • Regulators in DC are impeding success, and the war on energy needs to stop.
  • Shale energy is a geo-political game changer.
  • State Department is exporting hydro-fracturing technology.
  • We have an opportunity for our nation to lead the world in energy.
  • We have more natural gas reserves than any nation on the planet.
  • When America has a problem we solve it.  There is technology that allows Fracking without the use of liquids.
  • We need to unleash the ability of our nation to support the world’s liquid natural gas demand.  Right now Russia is rushing to lock in this market.
  • Our nation is focusing on securing the Middle East oil supply for everybody.  Energy independence would allow us to redirect that investment to better protect our nation.
  • We need to be forward leaning when engaging the world in energy.  That is not limited to natural gas, it also includes other energy sources.
  • We need a demand focused policy.
  • Protectionism is not the right path to success. The best option is to remain strong enough to dictate the terms of engagement, and energy independence allows our nation to do that.
  • The best level to regulate the energy industry is at the state level.
  • State regulation has been highly effective and should continue to be.
  • We can solve the issue of regulation by focusing on be scientific validity for the basis of the regulation.
  • DC management is not the solution.  We need political accountability.

The Honorable Tom Ridge, Ridge Global

  • Energy policy is sometimes described as a mirage.  Truth is, we don’t have an energy policy.
  • The country thirsts for an energy policy.  We need one, and we can create one.
  • Many Presidents have promised energy independence. None have delivered it yet.
  • The right energy policy is one designed to make the US the world leader … Period.
  • World energy demand will increase 50% by 2030.
  • China is being aggressive in buying assets.
  • India is prepared to purchase what they can’t produce.
  • We must decide as a nation to either lead be transformation or be transformed by others.
  • Economic, national security, foreign policy and environmental sustainability need to be the 4 cornerstones of a national energy policy.
  • End the debates on which energy is the best.  Embrace energy diversity.
  • We can be more engaged in influencing global direction through energy export.
  • There is no need to import from non-allies.
  • We need to stop being vulnerable to being extorted by non-friendly countries.
  • Helping our allies be more energy independent serves our nations best interests.
  • We cannot disengage globally, we need to become even more engaged.
  • We must develop our energy resources in an environmentally prudent way to ensure sustainability.
  • States must be in charge of industry regulation.  They are best positioned because nobody is more concerned about the quality of their environment than the people who live in the area.
  • We need to leverage every single source of energy and not pick winners and losers.
  • The opportunity for us to make friends is through exporting of energy and technology.
  • The market for energy globally is huge.
  • Energy security, economic security and national security are interdependent.
  • The place to start the conversation about a national energy policy is within the industry.
  • At the end of the day, we need to leave an America that allows our children to have a better life than we have.  We need to rethink what will drive that.  The energy sector provides the opportunity to achieve that goal.

Dr. Greg Smith, Xavier University

  • James Ludlow Adams has provided a good definition of the American Dream.
  • It is the pursuit of an ever improving quality of life.
  • Xavier University has been studying the American Dream over 6 years.
  • Created a survey that can evaluate the American Dream every month (American Dream Composite Index).
  • Notions of the American Dream, such as owning a home, have persisted and have made it a challenge to get people the understand what the American Dream is.  Another example is getting rich quick.  Neither truly represents the American Dream.
  • Xavier chose not to define the American Dream, but rather created a list of dimensions that describe the American Dream (dreams within the dream).
  • Created 139 dimensions and through statistics developed 35 dreams within the American Dream.
  • We dream of many things –
  • Having a place to call home (not necessarily home ownership).
  • Being able to afford both what we need and what we want.
  • A diverse culture.
  • A quality educational opportunity, safety, a good job, good health, of being happy and content, and we dream of leisure.
  • That each generation will do better than the one before
  • A government and businesses we can trust.
  • If we work hard we ill be fairly rewarded.
  • An environment that is safe.
  • The American Dream is an immigrant term.
  • The societal index compares with consumer sentiment but does it sooner.
  • The job environment tracks nearly perfectly with jobless claims numbers.
  • The ADCI can predict GDP trend  4 months before it happens.  Gives guidance on knowing the direction of the economy before it happens so we can respond.
  • Now leveraging the data at a state level and looking to provide it at an MSA level to guide strategic investment choices.
  • Overwhelmingly people believe energy plays a significant role in achieving he American Dream (76%)
  • Higher energy cost results in less pending elsewhere (70% agree)
  • Roughly 60% would not be willing to spend more for energy from renewable sources?
  • People are indifferent to reducing personal energy consumption to integrate renewable energy sources
  • People feel (88%) feel quality of life improves when energy costs decline
  • American Dream is alive and well.
  • Energy is powering the American Dream.
  • People are sensitive to energy costs.
  • Reliable, inexpensive energy propels the American Dream

Alexander Huurdemann, World Bank

  • Achieving energy access is a key objective of he World Bank mission to end poverty and create sustainable prosperity.
  • More than 1/5 of the global population does not have adequate access to energy.
  • Lack of energy and poverty are fundamentally connected.
  • Supporting a global campaign for cleaner and reliable energy.
  • Universal access to energy could be achieved by 2030.
  • Natural gas is widely available but underutilized.
  • Developing countries are considering LNG as a viable source.
  • Gas can become a base load source.
  • World Bank is working with some countries to put in place the right framework to create a natural gas market.
  • The US experience suggests any country pursuing shale energy will need to create a robust legal and regulatory environment.
  • World Bank has more questions than answers related to shale energy’s impact on global markets.
  • World Bank does not currently have plans to invest in development of shale gas in developing countries.
  • It is important to ensure communication of the facts so people can make informed decisions.

Chris McGill, American Gas Association

  • There is a great opportunity to leverage our indigenous resources, but most people don’t understand the magnitude of the opportunity.
  • If you look at the facts, we are producing more natural gas at a lower cost than we ever thought possible.
  • It is American ingenuity that figured out how to extract natural gas from shale economically.
  • We’ve gone through huge changes of the resource base because of the Fracking technology.
  • Technology has been key to unlocking the potential of natural gas.
  • The hydrocarbon resources are enormous in North America.
  • In be past 2-years the resource base has grown +25% because of the ability to cost effectively tap shale energy as a resource.
  • We are looking at the tip of the iceberg.
  • The known supply elasticity today can easily address demand growth.
  • Natural gas is in every aspect of our society.
  • If you look at the data, you find CO2 emissions have been declining and future forecasts predict a continued decline.  It is an extraordinarily good story.
  • Sustainability and responsible development is the absolute key to success.
  • The vision and view of how natural gas works with the balance of energy sources is important to establish.
  • The opportunity is so extraordinary we need to be good stewards to ensure it works for our nation and citizens.
  • The country will never realize the full potential of natural gas until the demand increases.

Chris Wood, Trout Unlimited

  • Each TU chapter devote time for community service.
  • TU has an active advocacy and restoration agenda.
  • The great promise and potential of shale energy to strengthen our nation.
  • TU’s concern is to ensure the environment is protected in the development of the shale energy reserves.
  • Brook trout are native in the Utica and Marcellus Shale area.
  • The brook trout population has been declining (apart from shale energy development).  TU’s concern is to ensure the decline is not accelerated by shale energy development.  That will require a collaborative approach to address the interests of the industry and the fisheries.
  • Intact populations of trout are typically found in the headwaters of small mountain streams and the areas are slated for shale energy drilling.
  • One area we haven’t seen the progress necessary is erosion and segment control to protect fairly sensitive stock like brook trout.
  • The negative impact tends to be cumulative over time, so regulatory solutions may not b the best.
  • TU can work with industry to pioneer erosion and sedimentation practices that can reduce the risk to the waterways.
  • TU’s science team can help shale energy companies be good stewards of our waterways so trout fishing can be enjoyed for generations.
  • TU can also help with the well pad and culvert design to minimize their negative impacts.
  • TU can also help with minimizing stream crossings NS minimize forest defragmentation.
  • TU can help provide regulatory and legal relief for the use of acid mine water for Fracking.
  • TU would love to create a collaborative effort with a shale energy company to illustrate what best practice development looks like.

David Spieglemyer

  • Investing in our children is extremely important.
  • The industry needs to invest strategically in educating our children.
  • We need skilled, qualified workers and it begins by developing them early.
  • Governor Ridge commented hat this may be the first generation where our children may not be as prosperous as we are.
  • Shale energy is providing an opportunity to change that.
  • We need to invest in early learning and child development now, not later.
  • If current trends hold, we will face a major shortage of energy workers.
  • The US educational trends suggest it will be very hard to meet the labor demand of the industry domestically.
  • The data suggest for every 100 ninth graders, 82 won’t get a college degree.
  • We must grow talent here.
  • We must focus on healthy brain development.
  • Children who start behind tend to stay behind.
  • If a child doesn’t read well by age 8 their future academic performance suffers.
  • High quality, early childhood programs dramatically improve the odds of success.
  • US Pentagon data suggests 75% of young Americans are not eligible to serve in the military, in a large part because they are in sufficiently skilled.
  • Biggest barrier to funding is a lot of challenges with limited resources. We need to reassess how and where our taxpayer dollars are invested.

Dennis Yablonsky, Allegheny Conference

  • Over the last 30-years, SW Pennsylvania’s economy diversified.
  • More corporate expansions than any other region in the Northeast.
  • Natural Gas industry is fueling a good portion of the growth.
  • Today no one sector represents more than 23%of the SW Pennsylvania economy.
  • The growth is expected to come disproportionately from be energy sector.
  • Shale gas is the hottest sub-sector.
  • Hearing more stories of manufacturing coming back to US because of low cost natural gas prices.
  • We have an opportunity to reinvigorate manufacturing.
  • You will begin to see an increase in petrochemical investment in the region.
  • The top barrier is skilled labor.
  • Infrastructure is a second big issue.
  • The Region needs to address fundamental issues in order to maximize the positive impact of the shale energy industry.

James Roddey, Shale Gas Roundtable

  • Jim just turned 80 which he says is a milestone that is better than a headstone.
  • PA has over 6,000 unconventional wells drilled with over 60% producing.
  • Shale Gas Roundtable is a multi-stakeholder organization.
  • Focus of the Roundtable is to confront the controversy and facilitate agreement.
  • Protecting the environment is a common objective, in particular fresh water.
  • Water supply may be a major economic development driver and needs to be protected.
  • Pittsburgh is an example of a city that has reinvented itself.  Unfortunately, the problem has been no population growth.
  • The most important thing we can do is create jobs.
  • Shale gas represents the first real opportunity in SW PA to create jobs since the demise of the steel industry.
  • The shale energy industry delivers advantages beyond jobs (e.g. Low cost energy).
  • This is the best thing to happen to SW PA in our lifetime.
  • We do need regulation.  But the regulatory system needs to be agile enough to adapt to rapid technological change.
  • Roundtable will be producing 4 reports including recommendations. Reports on water, regulatory issues, etc..
  • Will be recommending a truly independent research organization with impeccable credentials and credibility, similar to the Health Education Foundation, to monitor he environment.
  • Mid-stream development represents the next economic revolution.

Diana Stares, Washington & Jefferson College

  • Focus of Washington and Jefferson College Center is public policy related to energy.
  • CEPM focus is research, development of an energy index, programming and internships.
  • Research on economic impacts on Washington County.
  • Studying boom:bust cycle risks, funding by Hienz endowment.
  • Objective is to create credible research outcomes that are unbiased.
  • Energy index is a tool that uses public data to measure energy independence.
  • Index looks back to 1947.
  • Index indicates our nation is becoming more energy independent.  In part, driven by the shale energy industry.
  • Also measures energy security to help assess risk of supply disruption.
  • Independent research is mission critical to the shale energy industry.
  • Policy research helps the Region to reshape its future.


The potential impact of the shale energy industry on our national economy makes this subject important for every economic development professional and elected official.  It is important you make it a priority to understand.  In my opinion, there is no other foreseeable development in the next two decades that will have such a far reaching impact on national economic growth than the development of shale energy.  If you would like to know even more about this topic, please visit this special RESOURCES section.  It will provide you links to a wide range of information.

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