A delagation from Ukraine is visiting the region to study shale gas, stopping at St. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Carnegie, where they met with Rep. Tim Murphy, left front. (Photo: John Heller/Post-Gazette)
U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, hosted members of the Ukrainian parliament and other officials who he said were visiting Western Pennsylvania to learn more about shale-gas exploration.
With an American flag on one side and a blue and yellow Ukrainian flag on the other side of the stone steps in front of the church, the Rev. Steve Repa, pastor, welcomed his visitors.
Father Repa speaks fluent Ukrainian, which was useful, because Mr. Murphy speaks none, and the visitors spoke little or no English.
Inside the Mansfield Avenue church, which bears a plaque saying the historic landmark was built in 1906, visiting delegates seemed to enjoy hearing Father Repa speak about the history of his church and the local Ukrainian community.
Also on hand to meet and greet were Carnegie Mayor Jack Kobistek and Monsignor George Appleyard, bilingual pastor of the nearby Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church.
Carnegie has a vibrant Ukrainian-American community, Mr. Murphy said.
In addition to the two Ukrainian churches, the borough is home to a Ukrainian-American cultural museum and a Ukrainian social club, the Carnegie Ukes Club.
About 75 residents gathered first in the church and then in the social hall where they put out an afternoon "tea" that included traditional Ukrainian foods and pastries.
This is the second time Ukrainian officials have met with a U.S. Congressman to learn more about shale gas, said Sergiy P. Klyuyev . He's a member of Ukrainian Parliament and head of Ukraine's Parliamentary Committee for Relations with the U.S. He speaks English and was spokesman for the visitors.
"We are here to learn about technology," he said, and to learn about "environmental problems."
Mr. Murphy said Ukrainians reached out to his office because of Marcellus Shale.
"Throughout Ukraine, they are very concerned about energy and the cost of natural gas which is 3-4 times higher there than it is here," Mr. Murphy said.
"They want to learn how to do it right."
They came to Carnegie to see the church and to meet Ukrainian-Americans, he said. They also were in Canonsburg Monday to meet with officials of Range Resources and to see shale operations.
Ukraine recently signed a $10 billion production agreement with Shell, Mr. Murphy said, and has completed negotiations with Chevron on a second shale-gas project.
"The deals are especially critical for Ukraine and Europe, which have sought to reduce their dependence on foreign sources of energy."