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10631state forests and fracking

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  • Walter Tsou
    Mar 28, 2014
    Lets see, we lease thousands of acres of state forests to the gas drilling industry, allow them to pollute the grounds, tear down the trees, and then ask if there is an environmental impact.  Do we really trust the Corbett Administration to offer an unbiased report??  It seems we have it backwards.  Like we know enough that there should be NO drilling period.  No drilling in state forests, residential communities, and state parks.  That is what this environmental report should say.


    DCNR to release drilling impact report next month

    Published: March 27, 2014


    HARRISBURG - A state conservation agency plans to release a voluminous report next month about its efforts to monitor the environmental impact of natural gas drilling in the state forests.

    The monitoring of gas drilling will continue after the report comes out, Ellen Ferretti, secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, told an advisory council Wednesday.

    DCNR started the drilling monitoring program in 2011, after the agency leased thousands of acres of state forest land for deep Marcellus Shale drilling in separate auctions in 2008 and 2010.

    The forthcoming report has been a topic of debate since Gov. Tom Corbett proposed additional gas drilling in state forests and in state parks as part of his 2014-15 state budget.

    Mr. Corbett hopes to generate $75 million from lease payments to help balance the next budget by allowing gas firms operating on nearby parcels of privately owned land to drill underground to reach Commonwealth-owned gas deposits in state parks and forests as long as it doesn't disturb the land surface, said Ms. Ferretti.

    "You will not see a well pad in a state park," she added.

    The monitoring report will examine such issues as water quality, wildlife and forest fragmentation, said Dan Devlin, acting deputy secretary for parks and forestry.

    Mr. Devlin said he doesn't know how many potential sites would be leased for drilling under the governor's proposal. DCNR will ask companies to provide a development plan and can set conditions in a lease for such features as a buffer area, he said.

    DCNR says it has authority under a 1995 state law to enter leases to develop oil and gas underlying state forests and state parks. Legislative approval is needed to appropriate revenue generated from new leases.

    DCNR needs to provide data about reported gas well leaks in its monitoring report, Joanne Kilgour, chapter director of the Sierra Club in Pennsylvania, told the council.

    Underground drilling can have an impact on groundwater and create noise and light pollution, she said.

    "In reality, there are surface impacts," she said.

    Contact the writer: rswift@..., @rswiftTT on Twitter