Hazleton students could get gas class paid for by Cabot Gas and Oil, the company fined for contaminating residential water wells in Dimock

Hazleton students could get gas class paid for by Cabot by Kent Jackson, August 28, 2013, Citizensvoice.com
Ninth-graders in a new magnet school would study the technology, economics and environmental issues surrounding natural gas drilling, according to a proposal before the Hazleton Area School Board. Junior Achievement of Northeastern Pennsylvania will supply the materials, and Cabot Gas and Oil will pay for them. Cabot has been fined for operations in Dimock Township, Susquehanna County, where natural gas has been found in residential wells drilled through the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. While people from Cabot would teach two of the seven lessons, district teachers would lead four lessons and an environmental group or one of its members tentatively is slated to lead another session, Marie Ernst, vice principal of the Hazleton Area Academy of Sciences, said. … Asked about the proposal, board members said they prefer that district officials, rather than companies, determine what is taught in the schools, but they realized that natural gas drilling could provide jobs to graduates. “That’s where the future is. If you don’t jump on board, you’re going to be left behind,” board member Tony Bonomo said. “You look at the jobs. People are always talking about how employable our kids are. If they get the training, they can only benefit.”

Dr. Robert Childs, a board member, said the lessons should be monitored carefully. “If they’re going to tell how fracking is done – fine with me, but if they’re going to tell me how great it is, I’m opposed,” he said. School board member Steve Hahn welcomes support of industries and businesses, many of which have donated money, equipment and expertise to the school, which is scheduled to open for the first time on Sept. 5. “I think the curriculum – what’s being taught – has to be independent of any business interest,” Hahn said. … The unit will include a mock town hall meeting in which students will portray drillers, business people, landowners and people with contaminated wells so they can explore the issue from various vantage points, Ernst said. [Emphasis added]

[Refer also to:

For Occupational Safety and Health Research and Practice in the U.S. Oil and Gas Extraction Industry by NATIONAL OCCUPATIONAL RESEARCH AGENDA (NORA), October 2011
During 2003-2008, 648 oil and gas extraction workers were fatally injured on the job, resulting in an occupational fatality rate of 29.1 deaths per 100,000 workers – eight times higher than the rate for all U.S. workers.  Nearly half of all fatal events in the oil and gas extraction industry resulted from highway crashes (29%) and workers struck by objects and equipment (20%). Fatality data were compiled from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics…. [Emphasis added]

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