Past Webinar

Exploring the Effects of Energy Resource Booms on Public Education

Aug 10, 2017

About the Event

This webinar is a joint effort from Penn State University and Resources for the Future (RFF), hosted by RFF.

Rapid resource development can impact local communities and public education through numerous channels. This webinar featured an expert panel discussion of findings from an extensive RFF study examining the effects of unconventional oil and gas development on school districts across six oil- and gas-producing states—Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, North Dakota, Montana, and Colorado.

Nathan Ratledge and Laura Zachary of the RFF research team combined statistical analysis and in-person interviews with education professionals across all six states in order to understand the benefits and challenges of energy resource booms on pre-K–12 public schools. They will discuss their assessment, which revealed divergent trends in student enrollment, student-teacher ratios, and per-pupil revenue and expenses that split largely between school districts in the eastern versus western United States.

Kathy Brasier, associate professor of rural sociology at Penn State University, added her perspective on the education impacts in the Marcellus region. Julia Haggerty, assistant professor at Montana State University and director of the Energy Communities research initiative, also joined the conversation with her insights on rural community resilience. The webinar concluded with time for questions from the audience.

For questions about this webinar, contact Laura Zachary at

Join RFF for other webinars in this series: WHIMBY—What’s Happening in My Backyard? The Community Impacts of Unconventional Gas and Oil Development.

To help understand the benefits and costs to local communities experiencing unconventional oil and gas development, experts at RFF have undertaken extensive research over the past two years and partnered with experts at Penn State University and elsewhere to highlight their findings in this ongoing webinar series.

Learn more about this RFF research initiative: The Community Impacts of Shale Gas and Oil Development.



  • Nathan Ratledge, Co-Principal Investigator, RFF Oil & Gas/Public Education Project
  • Laura Zachary, Consultant, Resources for the Future
  • Kathy Brasier, Penn State University
  • Julia Haggerty, Montana State University