Preparing Communities for Shale Development through Sustainable Planning

PI: Moss, M. (Ohio State University)
Co-PIs: Olson, D. (South Dakota State University), Bond, C., Romich, E. & Bowen-Ellzey (Ohio State University)
Collaborator: Tweeten, K. (North Dakota State University)
Awarded: $19,522

Project Abstract

Rural communities throughout the North Central region are experiencing sudden negative and positive impacts as a result of the shale gas boom. The communities most affected by this wave of energy development are those who are resource rich and prone to the long term economic fluctuations experienced by natural resource dependent economies. Shale development impacts upon these community’s social structure through the influx of new, often temporary workers, challenging existing community dynamics and the ability of existing institutions such as schools and social services to meet increased needs. Economically the impacts include the growing demand for public and private goods and services as well as increasing tax revenues and large sums of money for individual landowners. Environmentally shale development impacts upon land use, agriculture, water, and air quality. Many of the long-range impacts are still being studied. Because shale development influences the social, economic and environmental aspects of each community, the approach to addressing these impacts should be from a perspective of sustainability.

We propose to create educational materials that can be used by local leaders to prepare for and mitigate the immediate impacts of shale development while taking advantage of revenue generation to build long-term community sustainability. Our team will analyze case studies, field research and best practices to develop a comprehensive classroom and web based curriculum that will then be piloted and evaluated. This curriculum can be used by Extension Educators throughout the North Central Region to help their communities prepare for the impacts of shale  development.