WELLSBORO - A panel discussion about the impact on Tioga County of drilling in the Marcellus Shale natural gas formation and the signing of the Community Compact with the natural gas industry are on the agenda for the Tioga County Partnership for Community Health's annual meeting Thursday from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Deane Center's Grand Community Room, 100 Main St..
The public is encouraged to attend and is asked to reserve a seat by emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 723-0520.
The meeting will begin with an introduction by Dr. Peter Keller, partnership chairman and Mansfield University provost.
The Community Compact states in part, "We seek to develop a relationship between communities and the gas industry based on a set of principles that recognizes the importance of respect for each other and the sustainability of our communities. Toward that end we propose a transparent and public compact or agreement between communities, businesses, local governing entities and the gas industry that respects environmental, aesthetic, and economic interests."
The Compact also spells out the responsibilities of communities, government leaders and relevant organizations and agencies in regard to the oil and gas industry and then spells out expectations for natural gas related businesses.
Congressman Glen "GT" Thompson, R-Howard, and state Rep. Matthew E. Baker, R-Wellsboro, will be among the speakers.
At 9 a.m. a "Shared Values" panel will convene, composed of a representative from Shell Corporation; Chuck Dillon, an aid to Senator Joe Scarnati; Jack Showers, of Talisman Corp.; Lindsey Sikorski, interim director of Mansfield University's Marcellus Shale Institute; Bryan McConnell, of Tenaska Inc.; Ronald Butler, president and CEO of Laurel Health System; and Tioga County planner Jim Weaver, who will discuss how their respective organizations support the principles in the compact and are partnering with the community.
Following the panel discussion the signing of the Community Compact will take place.
"We are inviting the public to attend the meeting so they can witness the signing of the Compact and learn more about how Tioga County's leaders are committed to working together for the common good as our area is impacted by Marcellus shale development," explained Partnership Executive Director Deborah Adkins.
Noting that the arrival of the natural gas extraction industry has created some division in the community and has exacerbated many of the area's existing difficulties - among them affordable, decent housing, substance abuse and limited infrastructure.
"The Partnership." she said, recognizes that 'a house divided against itself cannot stand;' and rather than place blame or point fingers for problems that arise, the Partnership works to bring influential leaders and community members to the table to work through these issues in an open, neutral, productive manner.