Panel discussion debates the local economic benefit of fracking

Published by adviser, Author: Jason Robinson - Rocket Contributor, Date: November 16, 2012

A three group panel discussed the ripple effect of Marcellus shale drilling and how it is affecting the business world.

The panelists were Luke Marsh, AMEC Marcellus/Utica program leader; Russell Huffmyer, lead project manager Heckman Corp.; and Amelia Roncone, general manager of the northeast division of Specialty Oilfield Solutions and caterer.

The panel discussed how Marcellus shale drilling helps create jobs not only in the gas field, but in a variety of fields.

The panelist’s employers are a consulting agency, a trucking company, and one runs a catering service that delivers food to Marcellus workers at gas well sites. These jobs are called ancillary jobs.

The other types of Marcellus jobs are called core jobs because they directly drill of refine the natural gas from the Marcellus shale.

According to Pa. Dept. of Community and Economics there are approximately 240,000 core and ancillary Marcellus jobs. Approximately 70 percent of these come from Pa. residents. The average Pa. core salary is $81,116, when ancillary salary is $63,904 and the average of all Pa. jobs is $47,034.

“What we felt was that we needed a way to show our students, in particular, what kind of opportunities might exist in this phenomenal natural resource that is literally under our feet,” said John Buttermore, SRU professor from the school of business.

During the question and answer part of the discussion, Richard Grimm, SRU professor from the school of business asked “what is the impact of Marcellus drilling on the small town and their economies.”
Roncone answered, “Coming from Waynesburg and seeing the indirect impact Marcellus drilling has had is incredible. I drive the length of the town and I do not recognize it anymore.”

Marsh then answered, “There are so many ancillary services from the food to the engineering and trucking that has lead to more money in the tax payer’s pocket.”
Many environmental organizations like PennEnvironment, and Frackalert are protesting the expansion and exploitation of Marcellus shale drilling.

“I had heard a lot about the negative side of Marcellus drilling and was curious,” Shawn Grady, SRU business management major said. “From this series I have learned that the people in the Marcellus job field are professional and are try to do what is right.”

This was the final installment of the SRU’s Marcellus shale informational series which was part of the Success Starts Here speaking series.

Approximately 100 students, professors, faculty and other community members attended the event.


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