Meadville Tribune

Local News

May 26, 2013

SUNDAY ISSUE: Green schools and fracking


MEADVILLE — Protecting campuses

Faculty and administrators at Allegheny College said they looked at how Bethany College, a private liberal-arts school in West Virginia, handled the issue on campus.

Bethany signed a lease with Chesapeake Energy in 2011 to drill beneath about 1,300 acres of school-owned land. College administrators said at the time that they insisted from the start that no well pads would be allowed on the school’s 400-acre campus.

If Allegheny decides to drill, the terms of its lease could play an important role in protecting the environment, Ubinger said.

Safeguards could be put in a lease that would protect the Bousson property, said Lee. The general consensus from the faculty and administration is that there would be no drill pad located on the surface of the Bousson property, he said.

“If Allegheny develops a very environmentally protective lease, it can become the template,” Ubinger said.

Allegheny is in Crawford County, where there’s been very little drilling so far. That leads Ubinger to believe that people there, as well as the campus community, have time to carefully consider their options.

Depending on the interest of gas companies, a final decision by the Allegheny trustees about drilling might take the school several years, Lee said.

“I hope there’s a sense of trust, that people were heard (and) opinions were respected,”  he said.

You may reach Natasha Khan at (412) 315-0261 or

PublicSource is a nonprofit, in-depth news website in Pittsburgh that covers issues of importance to western Pennsylvania. For more, go to and sign up for our newsletter.


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