Energy in Depth Launches New Website, Major Grassroots Initiative for Northeast PA and Southern Tier of NY

For some time now, MDN has admired (and referenced) the work done by drilling industry group Energy in Depth (EID). Chris Tucker and the people at EID work hard to bring the pro-drilling side of the story to the masses and to counterbalance much of the hype and rhetoric circulated in the media. EID recently launched a new website for the Northeast Marcellus region under the leadership of Tom Shepstone (//eidmarcellus.org).

EID has also launched a major new grassroots initiative now spreading from county to county in the region. EID and the Northeast Marcellus Initiative should be on your list of “must read” resources if you’re interested in the Marcellus Shale drilling debate.

From the press release

Citing the changing nature of the debate over responsible energy development in America, and the continuing need to engage everyday people with facts and context on how these resources are being produced and what this work is already making possible for our communities, Energy In Depth (EID) announced today the launch of a new grassroots effort focused on expanding opportunities for education and mobilizing supporters along New York’s southern tier and in counties across northern Pennsylvania.

The program, known as EID’s “Northeast Marcellus Initiative,” calls for the hiring of several full-time organizers charged with engaging and educating the region’s many supporters of the Mighty Marcellus, and providing them with the tools they need to act. Led on the ground by campaign manager and well-known local natural gas advocate Tom Shepstone, the initiative is already up-and-running in several counties across the region, with field organizers now in place in Luzerne, Lycoming and Wayne Counties, Pa. – all with reach into New York State. More information is available on the campaign’s website (//eidmarcellus.org), which already features more than 35 individual entries and video postings despite only coming into existence last month.

“Many say the Marcellus Shale is a once-in-a-generation opportunity,” said Shepstone, a native of Wayne County, Pa. “As someone who has lived, worked and raised a family in this area with local roots going back seven generations, let me tell you: no one here has ever seen an opportunity quite as exciting or with as much potential to improve the lives of our communities as this one. There is nothing that even comes close to the Marcellus in its capacity to maintain open spaces and preserve the rural character of our area, all while creating jobs and opportunities for those who live there. It provides the resources for local folks to pay their taxes and preserve those working landscapes that all of us value.”

Added Shepstone: “Of course, lack of familiarity tends to lead to confusion, and left unaddressed, that can quickly turn into apprehension. Our job is to get out in the community and address those concerns head-on, with the facts and the science serving as our guide. The good news is that the vast majority of folks who actually live in this region, work here, and want their children to have the opportunity to stay here, support the development of this resource as long as it’s done safely and responsibly. These are the people we’ll be looking to engage, and in the process provide them with everything they need to ensure their voices are heard.”

Created by the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) in 2009, and sustained today through the guidance and support of producers all across the country, EID has never before been involved in on-the-ground organizing. But according to Chris Tucker, team lead for EID and a native of Trucksville, Pa., Luzerne Co., the nature and intensity of the public debate surrounding the Marcellus has changed dramatically since EID was first launched two years back, necessitating a new and more direct approach to advocacy and education.

“We’re proud of the role that EID has played over the past two years in getting the facts out and setting the record straight, but we also recognize that plenty more needs to be done, especially in the trenches, if we expect to take full advantage of the opportunities made possible by the Marcellus,” said Tucker. “The way we see it, there’s only so much we can accomplish sitting behind a desk. It’s time for us to take the work we’ve done nationally and make it both relevant and actionable to folks on the ground, in the community, in a real and sustained way. Not a single bit of that is going to be easy, but with Tom at the helm and a capable group of organizers in the field, we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

In addition to working individually with residents in the area, EID will also partner with existing trade associations such as the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association, the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York, the Marcellus Shale Coalition, the American Petroleum Institute and America’s Natural Gas Alliance. Links to each of these organizations can be found on EID’s industry links page.