Learning how to track the drilling

| Saturday, March 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Two environmental groups are hosting training in Butler County on Tuesday on a website designed to allow anyone to map Marcellus shale gas activity.

Mountain Watershed Association and the FracTracker Alliance will show people how to use the Web tools available at FracTracker.org,

Butler County has 1,542 oil and gas wells, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. MarcellusShale.org lists 368 Marcellus shale wells permitted on 147 well sites, with 194 wells drilled or being developed.

The website offers various information, including the number of wells drilled, their location, and how far a well pad is from a person's residence.

Group representatives said the website is helpful to those who see activity moving into their area and want information. The website offers data for 14 states, including Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York and West Virginia.

“A system like FracTracker helps to visualize what's happening on the ground, around homes,” said Melissa Troutman, outreach coordinator of Mountain Watershed Association.

The website is about as easy to use as Google Maps, said FrackTracker Alliance science and communications manager Samantha Malone, so many people have the skills to use the website. Some, however, who aren't as familiar with technology, will need guidance, she added.

Training is limited to about 15 people, but there are slots still open for the Butler County training.

Training sessions also will be held April 30 in Westmoreland County, June 18 in Fayette County, July 23 in Allegheny/Greene County, and Oct. 17 in Armstrong/Indiana County.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or bvidonic@tribweb.com.

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