Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Rendell: Deal Makes New Forest Leasing Unneeded

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell says a deal struck with an energy company means Pennsylvania won’t need to lease out any more state forest land for natural gas drilling this year. Anadarko Petroleum Corporation is paying Pennsylvania $120 million for the right to drill on 33,000 acres of state forest land in Centre, Clinton and Lycoming counties. Rendell says the acres in question are not listed as pristine. The land has been leased out for other types of drilling in the past. Deputy Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Karen Miller contends the environmental impact will be minimal. She says, “Because these newly-leased lands are surrounded by lands leased by the same company, there will be less disturbance of the newly-leased lands than we would have to have under virgin lands.” The $120 million covers the amount of revenue next year’s budget anticipates from land leasing. With the deal in place Rendell says he is now in favor of a moratorium on future leasing, “given this new development, I believe there’s no further need to release any state forest land in the future. So I would encourage the Senate to join in House action to pass a moratorium on further leasing.” There are currently gas leases on 700-thousand acres of state forest land.

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