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Gas Drillers Pumping Money Into County Fairs

Who doesn’t love fairs? There’s no downside to mixing fried food, carnival rides and livestock – unless, of course, your stomach is concerned.
August is peak fair season, and people across Pennsylvania have spent the last few weeks streaming into their local fairgrounds to catch the fun. According to the Post-Gazette, many drilling companies share that enthusiasm. The paper reports drillers have pumped money into county and local fairs, sponsoring events and even buying up prize-winning livestock in an effort to boost their public image.

…[I]t turns out that one of the social events of the year, the county fair, isn’t a bad way to introduce itself to its skeptical neighbors. Drilling in the natural gas rich Marcellus Shale has turned the annual summer gatherings into attractions with Nascar-style endorsements meant to help shore up support for a controversial industry planning on a decades-long investment in the region.
Local businesses have always vied for the ribbon that comes with a prized purchase, and the county fair season has introduced some heavy hitters to the mix.
It’s an outreach program that can add some colorful assets to a company’s portfolio.

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