Registration now open for 2020 Shale Network Workshop


To Shale Network participants: 

The Shale Network Workshop team has decided that we need to cancel the Shale Network workshop for this spring because of the novel coronavirus. We make this decision based on the latest request from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to cancel events scheduled within the next two months ( We regret to cancel because this year’s lineup was to be terrific, covering many new and emerging topics including, ironically, aspects of issues around human health. We have chosen dates for next year, May 13-14, 2021, and we invite you to pencil this time in for the workshop, once again in State College, Pa. We worked very hard on the planning for this year and we very much hope that all of our speakers will commit to coming next year, perhaps for the same line-up for the agenda, but with, of course, updated talks. In addition, we hope to run the same (or better) field trip next year. In the meantime, please, please be healthy and safe.  

Regards, The Shale Network Workshop Team
Susan L. Brantley
Distinguished Professor of Geosciences


Registration for the ninth annual Shale Network Workshop is now open. The theme of the 2020 workshop is “Shale Gas: Future and Developing Issues” and includes presentations on the health effects related to shale gas development by Donna Vorhees, director of energy research at the Health Effects Institute, and Joan Casey, assistant professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University. The workshop will be held May 14-15 at the Graduate Hotel in State College, Pa.

The workshop provides an opportunity for citizen scientists, researchers, government officials, energy company representatives, and environmental professionals to compare lessons learned about water and environmental issues within areas where shale energy development is occurring.

The 2020 workshop features a field trip to several alternative energy-related sites on the Penn State campus, including a gas-powered steam plant, solar array, nuclear reactor, and other available facilities. Participants who want to visit the nuclear reactor must provide their home address information when they register for the workshop. The tentative field trip schedule is as follows:


9:30 a.m. Meet at The Graduate
9:45 a.m. Depart for field trip
10:30 a.m. Visit the Sandy Ridge wind farm (tentative per company approval)
11:15 a.m. Depart from wind farm
12:00 p.m. Arrive on Penn State campus, lunch (pack your own) with discussion on PSU campus energy conservation initiatives
1:00 p.m. Break into two groups to tour the Brazealle Nuclear Reactor and East Campus Steam Plant
3:00 p.m. Tour the Penn State solar array
4:00 p.m. Arrive back at The Graduate


Shale Network is a collaborative effort between Penn State, the University of Pittsburgh and the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Sciences Inc. (CUAHSI) to collect and analyze data on water quality in the Marcellus Shale drilling region. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection participates in organizing parts of the workshop. Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) has also provided funding in past years.

2020 Shale Network Workshop TENTATIVE Agenda

Thursday, May 14, 2020
9:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. Field trip: Energy Choices, Energy Footprints: Toward a Decarbonized Future
***All sessions are in the 1855 Room and Coaly Ballroom at The Graduate unless noted otherwise***

5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Lower Lobby


5:30 - 7:30 p.m. 
1855 Room
Ice Breaker
Poster presenters, put posters up for Ice Breaker in 1855 Room. Posters will be left up through Friday.

7:30 - 9:00 p.m.
Coaly Ballroom

Group Discussion: Energy Transitions and their Environmental Impacts

Moderators: Jennifer Baka, David Yoxtheimer (Penn State University)

Representative from US Energy Information Agency (TBA), TBA (PA Governor’s Office of Energy or DEP), Ken Davis (Penn State University), TBA (Shell Oil Company), Jim Pivirotto (Senior Energy Analyst and Project Manager, Envinity), Matt Mehalik (Breathe Project)  

Friday, May 15, 2020
***All sessions are in the Coaly Ballroom at The Graduate unless noted otherwise***
7:15 a.m.
Lower Lobby
7:30 a.m.
Breakfast located in Coaly Ballroom

Continental Breakfast and Poster Setup
Speakers, please upload talks before session starts
Poster presenters, put posters up before 8 a.m. and remove promptly by 5 p.m.

8:00 a.m. Introduction to the Workshop: Using Data to Promote Better Dialogue about Future and Developing Issues around Shale Gas Development 
Susan L. Brantley (Penn State University); Jennifer Baka (Penn State University)
8:20 a.m. Title to be added
Denise Brinley (Executive Director at PA Governor’s Office of Energy)
8:40 a.m.
Challenges in Health-based Research Near Oil & Gas Development
Jim Fabisiak (University of Pittsburgh)
9:00 a.m. Community Perspectives and Responses to Pipeline Development and Public Health Risks
Kirk Jalbert (Arizona State University)
9:20 a.m. Health-based Evaluation of Ambient Air Measurements Near a Marcellus Shale Unconventional Natural Gas Well Pad Site and a School Campus
Christopher Long (Gradient Corporation)
9:40 a.m. Break for Coffee 
Speakers, please upload talks for next session 
10:00 a.m. Unconventional Natural Gas Development in the Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale: The Current Public Health Perspective 
Joan Casey (Columbia University)
10:20 a.m. A Closer Look at the Methods Behind Epidemiology Studies of Unconventional Resource Development
Judy Wendt Hess (Shell Health Risk Science Team, Shell Oil Company)
10:40 a.m. Approaches to Understanding Health Risks from Exposure to Shale Gas Development
Anna Rosofsky (Health Effects Institute) 

11:00 a.m. -

12:10 p.m.

Panel Discussion: Sorting out Real and Unreal Health Effects Related to Unconventional Resource Development: How do Different People Look at the Same Data and Come to Different Conclusions (and What Does It All Mean)? 
Stephanie Hasanali (PA Department of Health), Joan Casey (Columbia University), Donna Vorhees (Health Effects Institute), Kirk Jalbert (Arizona State University), Judy Wendt Hess (Shell Oil Company)
12:10 - 12:30 p.m. One-minute “advertisements” by each poster presenter about their poster
12:30 - 1:30 p.m. Reception-Style Lunch and Mill-Around Poster Session
Afternoon speakers, please upload talks 

Coffee service located in 1855 Room

Coaly Ballroom A Coaly Ballroom B
1:30 p.m. TBA Pipeline development from the Regulatory Perspective 
Domenic Rocco (PA Department of Environmental Protection)
1:50 p.m. Managing Produced Water in a New Decade
Loren Anderson (Marcellus Shale Coalition) 
Jon Dufalla (Range Resources-Appalachia, LLC)
Community Challenges and Choices Amidst Petrochemical Development
Matt Mehalik (Breathe Project)
2:10 p.m. Produced Water: Policy Considerations Concerning Disposal and Reuse Now and in the Future
Megan Garvey (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
Overview of Air Quality Monitoring Program for Shell’s Petrochemical Facility in Monaca, PA
Jim Sewell (Shell Chemical Company)
2:30 p.m. Break for coffee, rooms opened back up for Final Plenary
2:50 p.m. Environmental Hazards and Local Investment: Evidence from Over Half a Century of Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells 
Max Harleman (University of Pittsburgh) 
3:10 p.m. A Legal Perspective on What is Happening with Abandoned Wells in Pennsylvania (exact title to be added)
Michael Brayme (PA Department of Environmental Protection)
3:30 p.m. Performance of Historical Plug Jobs: Methane Emissions from Plugged Wells  
Harry Wise, Seth Pelepko (PA Department of Environmental Protection)
3:50 p.m. An Update on Quantification of Methane Emissions using Atmospheric Measurements
Kenneth J. Davis, Zachary R. Barkley (Penn State University)
4:10 p.m. Wrap Up Plenary Discussion:  What Do We Need to Do Next?
Susan L. Brantley, Dave Yoxtheimer, Jennifer Baka
4:30 p.m. Assessment and Adjournment
Poster presenters, please remove your posters promptly


Register here.


Continuing professional education

Attendees can receive:

  • Professional Development Hours for professional engineers, land surveyors and geologists.

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