Roundtable To Bring Together Experts on Both Sides of Marcellus Shale Debate

March 15, 2012 – The Annual Executive Roundtable hosted by the Managerial Economics Program at Allegheny College will bring together experts on the economic opportunities and environmental challenges involved in exploiting Marcellus Shale as a major source of natural gas. The roundtable, which is free and open to the public, will run from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Monday, April 2, in the college’s Ford Chapel.

Titled “Pennsylvania’s Shale Gas: Economic Boon or Environmental Disaster?” the roundtable will be moderated by Rachel O’Brien, chair of the Department of Geology at Allegheny College. Panelists will include:

Abrahm Lustgarten, a journalist with ProPublica, an independent nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest

Arthur Stewart, Allegheny Class of 1980, a managing member of D&I Silica, LLC, whose Prop’ N Rail Division has become a leading supplier of materials such as frac sand used in the industry in the Marcellus Shale and Appalachian Basin

John Walliser, vice president for legal and governmental affairs at the Pennsylvania Environmental Council

Roger Willis, Allegheny Class of 1980, president of Universal Well Services, which specializes in hydraulic fracturing, cementing, nitrogen and acidizing services in the Appalachian Basin

Organizers of the executive roundtable hope to provide a balanced platform by which experts, regulators, policymakers and the general public can exchange ideas and information on an issue that has generated rancorous debate across the nation, but especially in Pennsylvania. At the heart of the debate is the process of “fracking,” the hydraulic fracturing of shale that allows natural gas to be captured.

Panelists will discuss the Pennsylvania boom in exploiting the Marcellus Shale as a source of natural gas, along with prospective development of other deep natural gas shales. While some perceive the Marcellus and similar formations as solutions for the region’s energy and economic challenges, others express concern about the long-term effects of fracking on aquifers, ecosystems and community life.

The roundtable will focus on a number of key questions. What is the magnitude of the Marcellus Shale as a source of energy? What are some of the basic scientific and technical issues associated with exploration and processing of natural gas from the shale? What are the potential economic benefits and risks? What are the implications for the environment and local communities? To what extent might regulation reconcile the economic benefits and environmental costs, and what sort of regulatory framework would be needed?

The event will conclude with a Q&A session.

The event is part of the Year of Sustainable Communities at Allegheny College, a series of activities, workshops and events aimed at inspiring the campus and community to examine what makes a community sustainable in the richest sense of the word—that is, able to provide a good quality of life to those who live and work there and to be resilient in the face of challenges.

The Executive Roundtable is supported by the Earl W. Adams Endowment, established by Allegheny College trustee William Brown, Allegheny class of 1980, and his wife, Ellen Brown, in honor of Professor Adams.

For more information on the roundtable, contact Tracy Stevenson at 814-332-2385 or

About Allegheny College’s Program in Managerial Economics
The Managerial Economics track within the Economics major provides students with a broad foundation in economics and an especially strong grounding for careers in the managerial fields. The program builds on traditional Allegheny strengths like communication and critical thinking skills by familiarizing students with disciplines like finance, accounting and strategic planning. Management positions in corporate, governmental and nonprofit organizations are common paths for graduates.