Gas exploration brings jobs and new revenue into communities. Small businesses benefit from increased sales; residents benefit from mineral leases; and local government will earn more taxes to support schools and other services.

But gas development can be disruptive. It brings trucks, equipment, noise and competition for water resources. It can mean an influx of new people who need housing and other support services.

Increasingly, companies drilling for gas reach out to the communities where they will be working. Not only do they educate the community about the potential impacts of natural gas development, but they open a dialogue with community leaders.

A good community outreach program creates a give and take, with plenty of opportunity for residents and businesses to comment on plans and express concerns, and a sincere effort on the part of the gas developer to adjust plans and operations in response.

Gas developers place public safety as their highest priority. An effective community plan includes coordination with local public safety providers. For example, Shell regularly tests its emergency response plans and procedures with local emergency response crews and government organizations. And one way Anadarko invests in local communities is by improving roads and adding other traffic safety infrastructure for permanent residents.

Anadarko also maintains a hotline, sends frequent communications to community groups and has been known to hire security personnel to protect school children when a well was being drilled nearby.