Marcellus Drilling: State Forests Under Attack
by Moshannon Group Wildlife Chair Dr. Stan Kotala
In April 2008 Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) opened 75,000 acres of our State Forests to leasing by the gas companies drilling the Marcellus shale. Some politicians now are proposing to force DCNR to lease an additional 390,000 acres of State Forest land to the gas industry.
Marcellus Gas wells have ten times the impact of any gas wells you have ever seen: Each well requires the clearing of dozens of acres of forest and every well requires more than a million gallons of water to fracture the 5,000 foot deep wells.
The DCNR has objected strongly to this proposal, stating that “Rampant, unplanned leasing of forest lands would severely jeopardize DCNR’s ability to retain its third-party certification (of timber) and to maintain ecologically sound forest management.”
It is important to note that these politicians want to lease additional vast parts of our State Forest in lieu of having the gas drillers pull their own weight via paying a fee on the gas they extract from State Forests. We still suffer from the damage from coal extraction –and taxpayers continue to pay for the cleanup of what was done 100 years ago. Some politicians haven’t learned from the mistakes of the past – now they want to help the gas industry to ravage our public lands without setting money aside for fixing their damage. The Marcellus gas field will be an economic boon for the industry but Pennsylvania taxpayers will be stuck (again) for the cleanup of the damage.
YOU CAN HELP —
Ask your local Legislators to oppose additional drilling in State Forests
The Moshannon Group of the Sierra Club urges you to contact your local Pennsylvania legislators and ask them to oppose opening additional State Forest lands to Marcellus shale gas drilling. Forest conservation — not energy extraction — should be the overarching purpose of our state forests.
Get your Pennsylvania Legislator’s Contact Information here. You can find your Legislator’s contact information by using your zip code on the top right of this page.
Support HB2235: Download a sample letter to send to your Representative. HB2235 was introduced by Vitali, Harper, McIlvaine, Smith, Houghton, Boyle, Bradford, Briggs, Caltagirone, Cohen, Curry, DeWeese, FrankelL, Freemen, Gerber, Goodman, Hanna, Jesephs, Kessler, Kirkland, Kortz, Lentz, Manderino, McGeehan, Melio, Moul, Mundy, M. O'Brien, Pashinski, Payton, Santarsiero, Siptroth, Staback, Sturla, R. Taylor and Murt. Referred to the Committee on Environmental Resources and Energy on FEBRUARY 2, 2010. Take a moment to write before April 15th, show your support, and thank those who introduced this bill.
Contact information for Pennsylvania’s Representatives and Senators can be found at the General Assembly website by zip code (top right of page).
- Tribune-Democrat Reader’ Forum: Audubon group opposes expanded drilling
- Gas Drilling in the Marcellus Shale and Pennsylvania’s Coldwater Resources (PA Council of Trout Unlimited, Feb 2009)
- How the Marcellus Shale Gas Came to be Tax Exempt (Philadelphia Inquirer, Oct 25, 2009)
- Devonian Marcellus Formation Maps (Penn State Cooperative Extension)
- Riding Out the Rush for Riches (PA Township News, June 2008)
- The Halliburton Loophole (New York Times Editorial, November 2009)
- Have we learned from the past? Early problems from the Marcellus Gas Drilling (editorial by K. Davis through PaForestCoalition.org)
- The Marcellus Shale Play: What’s In Store For PA’s Natural Resources? (by Robert M. Pennell, Secretary,
Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited, n.d.)
- Responsible Drilling Alliance (new coalition of environmental-minded conservation groups ranging from sportsmen to community advocates forming to distribute information, strengthen environmental laws and record effects of Marcellus Shale Drilling in the Susquehanna River Basin)
- Marcellus Sites in Centre County, Nov 2009 [PDF map] (Centre County Planning and Community Development Office, Nov 2009)
- PhillyDeals: Gas-field water treatment put at $3 billion (by Joseph N. DiStefano, Dec 24, 2009)
Marcellus Shale Industry Sites