Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Late last year Governor Ed Rendell signed a moratorium halting the awarding of new leases for natural gas drilling in state forests. Governor-elect Tom Corbett has expressed that he plans to repeal the moratorium once he's in office. Now a group of environmental and civic organizations is calling on Corbett to keep the moratorium in place until the impact of natural gas drilling in forests can be further studied. Heather Sage, vice president of PennFuture says the industry has the potential to harm the state's natural assets and the industries that depend on them, including tourism and logging. Sage says another 1,500 well pads containing 5,000-6,000 wells could be drilled in the next ten years on forest land, "and within those forest lands we've got more than 2,500 miles of trails and opportunities for people to hunt, fish, hike, ski...it's really a major industry for Pennsylvania." PennFuture was joined by the Sierra Club, the League of Women Voters, the Pennsylvania Council of Churches and Preservation Pennsylvania in urging Corbett to maintain the moratorium. Sage says if the governor-elect doesn't heed their call "it's not only an environmental issue, it's an economic issue and there's a lot of jobs at stake here. And I think there are a lot of potential ways that citizens and industries can push back on this, but we're hoping that we don't have to do that."