What started as a simple idea for a small group to gather in a local coffee shop, has turned into a community meeting that regularly attracts upward of 50-100 neighbors interested in learning more about Marcellus Shale development plans from Range Resources.
Range has been holding the local “Coffee Breaks” as they’re known for more than three years now in local communities. District Land Manager Bob Schubenski, a life-long resident of Avella, PA, is among the Range employees who are there to provide information and answer questions.
“At our most recent event in Amwell Township, we had over 70 people show up,” says Schubenski. “It’s an opportunity to get in front of residents and communicate our plans. People respond really well, we get good feedback. We also find out if someone has a concern or an unanswered question, and that’s great – that’s the point of these gatherings.”
A typical Coffee Break includes Range employees from several different departments including: Land, Field and Water Operations, Environmental Compliance, Security, and Public Affairs. After a brief presentation, employees take questions from the audience, and then break into smaller groups for more specific conversations. The Land team displays large maps so that residents can see exactly what type of activity is planned, and where, over the next several months.
Amwell resident Ray Day attended Range’s most recent Coffee Break. “I thought it was very positive. Most people that I talked to, friends and neighbors from Amwell, really appreciated it. They like to be informed, they like to know what’s going on. And I don’t know that any other company does anything like this.”
Day hopes the Coffee Breaks will continue. “I know it’s time consuming for Range, and it takes up a lot of man-hours, but there are so many positive benefits. At the Amwell event, people were interested in seeing how much Range has spent in the township. They want to know about royalties, and lease agreements, and the impact fee money. And I know people were gratified to find out how that money is spent, on things like roads. Since Range has been in the township the roads are definitely better!”
Since 2012, Range has paid out approximately $117.5 million in lease and royalty payments in Amwell Township; and the community has received more than $3 million in Impact Fees.
Range’s Laural Ziemba was part of the effort to get Coffee Breaks off the ground three years ago. “Originally, we planned to meet in local coffee shops. We thought we’d get about 10 people. But once we realized that the groups would actually be much larger, we decided to hold the Coffee Breaks in municipal buildings and fire halls. And we bring a full breakfast now too.”
Amwell resident Pete Cameron also attended the recent Coffee Break in his community. “It’s a really good program. I think it’s great that Range reaches out to the community in this way.”
For Schubenski, the Coffee Breaks are well aligned with Range’s overall commitment to good stewardship of the environment, natural resources, and the communities where employees live and work.
“Our emphasis is on being transparent, and doing the right thing,” says Schubenski. “When we get in front of these groups, we don’t know what questions they might ask. We are here to listen just as much as we are to provide information, we want to hear from residents.”
Since the program began in 2015, Range has held Coffee Breaks all across communities in the company’s core operating area, including: Avella, Buffalo, Blaine, Donegal, Independence, Jefferson, Mt. Pleasant, North Strabane, South Strabane, Smith, Findlay, Cross Creek, and Amwell. Plans are underway for Coffee Breaks in additional townships later this year.
Residents with questions about current or upcoming activity in their community can also call Range’s Response Center at 724-754-5999 or email: [email protected].