Webinar: How the Evolution of the Marcellus Shale has Positively Impacted our Communities – September 24, 2020

Rig and field

Williamsport, PA – Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation, in cooperation with the Williamsport/Lycoming County Chamber of Commerce and the Washington County Chamber of Commerce hosted a Think About Energy Briefing webinar on Thursday September 24, 2020.

Today’s webinar featured Susquehanna County Commissioner Alan Hall, Jason Fink of the Williamsport/Lycoming County Chamber of Commerce and Jeff Kotula of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce.

The webinar provided a platform for a conversation with several community leaders who have been engaged in their communities since the start of the shale revolution. Panelists highlighted the positive impact the industry has had on educational facilities, industrial parks, agricultural communities and local government.

George Stark, Director, External Affairs, Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation, moderated today’s discussion. “Today we have three leaders who have been engaged in their communities prior to the start of shale development. They can all highlight the many positive long-term impacts shale has provided. Each of these leaders have worked to make sure their constituents benefitted from the workforce and economic opportunities and have helped to foster long term community partnerships,” said Stark.

Jeff Kotula, President of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce, highlighted the direct and indirect benefits the shale development has had on the county.

“Washington County and our residents have not only benefitted from the business, employment, and investments of the natural gas industry, but also the direct and indirect investments the industry has made in our communities,” said Kotula. “In addition to the direct economic benefits shale gas development, natural gas companies and related industries provide critical support to wide range of community organizations and non-profits across the communities in which they operate.  Their employees also make Washington County a more vibrant community by raising their families here, buying and maintaining homes, and volunteering in their local school, community, and philanthropic organizations across the county.”

Kotula went on to discuss how the shale development has positioned Washington County for continued development beyond shale.

“The development of the Marcellus and Utica Shale gas plays has defined Washington County as an energy leader across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and around the nation.  As we like to say in Washington County, ‘the power to prosper is right under our feet’ and as a community we are proud to contribute lead the revolution in natural gas development that has made the United States of America energy independent for the first time in generations and a net exporter of natural gas for the past several years,” said Kotula.

Jason Fink, President/CEO of the Williamsport/Lycoming County Chamber of Commerce, highlighted the partnerships the industry has forged in the community.

“Lycoming County has a natural gas power plant near Montgomery. While the operational side of the plant is not a massive employer, they are a great partner,” Fink said. “Industry experts are providing outreach into public schools and colleges, making students aware of the importance of studying science and mathematics for possible career choices in their chosen field of work. Shell Chemical has donated equipment and resources to assist students entering into plastics careers at the Pennsylvania College of Technology.”

Fink explained how the partnerships have helped to attract businesses within the region.

“A major advantage for us has been a close relationship with the industry over the years as we really leverage our resources to attract business and promote growth. Having the ability to offer access to companies and tours has been very helpful”, said Fink.

Susquehanna County Commission Alan Hall emphasized the benefits  to landowners and the ag community in the county.

“I believe the number is $2 billion that has been paid to landowners in Susquehanna County in royalty and bonus payments. There are approximately 46,000 residents (in the County),” said Hall. “That is a tremendous amount of money that has been invested in the community. Farms are able to invest in their operations and improve their overall quality of life.”

Hall described the local economic development opportunities that has spurred growth and attraction to Susquehanna County.

“We have seen existing businesses triple in size and totally new companies pop up and thrive. There are now far more opportunities for the younger generations,” said Hall. “We see people and companies who are crossing the border from New York to Pennsylvania to take advantage of the abundant and affordable natural gas, reliable energy, and more competitive tax environment. We have many advantages here that are quite enticing.”

Hall concluded highlighting the educational partnerships and the benefit to the county.

“Our county did not have higher level educational institutions until the industry worked with Lackawanna College to establish the School of Petroleum & Natural gas and the brand new Commercial Drivers License training center at Susquehanna County Career & Technology Center.”


  • Jeff Kotula
  • Jeff Kotula

    President of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce

  • Jason Fink
  • Jason Fink

    President/CEO of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce

  • Alan Hall
  • Alan Hall

    Susquehanna County Commissioner