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State Honors Murphy’s Marcellus Work

Tom Murphy (photo by Steve Williams)Lycoming County extension educator Tom Murphy won a 2010 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence for his leadership role and efforts to educate landowners and communities about issues related to gas drilling in the Marcellus shale.

Murphy, co-director of Penn State’s Marcellus Initiative for Outreach and Research, was one of 16 individuals, businesses, and organizations honored for their work to transform environmental problems into opportunities and promote energy independence. Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger announced the winners.

Early in the development of the Marcellus shale natural gas deposit, Murphy and his extension colleagues recognized potential issues and began offering workshops, Webinars, and publications to help inform landowners about leasing issues, drilling, and how to go about testing their well water before drilling.

Penn State Cooperative Extension held dozens of public meetings throughout north-central Pennsylvania to present factual information about drilling and environmental issues, and also helped inform local government officials on issues related to economic opportunities, community infrastructure, road bonding, and workforce needs. Murphy has worked for Penn State for 25 years.