Tuesday, June 24, 2014

State Lands: Drivers of the PA Economy

Governor Corbett issued an executive order reopening our state forests to leasing for natural gas drilling to fill in a one-time budget gap.
  • All of the un-leased forest land is in ecologically sensitive areas. Incidents, including spills of diesel fuel and brine, have occurred in state forests.i
  • Nearly 1,500 acres of forest had been converted for well pads and infrastructure, including some areas of once-contiguous forest that have been fragmented by new development.i
  • Pipeline crossings impacted Exceptional Value, High Quality, or Cold Water Fisheries designated streams at 35 different locations.i
  • New development makes areas vulnerable to the spread of invasive species. Researchers found 11 invasive plant species at 14 of the 18 well pads they looked at. i
  • There are fewer opportunities for remote recreational experiences in forests with gas development and three designated state forest hiking trails have been affected by gas development.[i]

The Governor believes his proposal will not result in any additional disturbances. 

There is no such thing as a non-surface impact gas lease.

Proximity of drilling activities to our forests and parks alone puts them at risk. Pollution respects no boundaries. Additional drilling will result in noise and light disturbance from heavy machinery, seismic exploration, construction of new roads and pipelines, and increased truck traffic. 

These potential dangers and activities increase the risk of:
  • Threatening the health of nearby families who have few safeguards to protect them from accidents and leaks.
  • Upsetting the natural habitat of animals
  • Proliferating invasive species
  • Increasing forest fragmentation
  • Disrupting the peace that is associated with enjoying nature
    • When the parks can no longer be enjoyed, people go elsewhere to experience the outdoors and take their tourism money with them


Oppose Governor Corbett’s order reopening our state forests natural gas leasing and exposing state parks to unconventional leasing for the first time.

Call or write to your Senator or Representative.
Not sure who they are or how to reach them? Click here. 

Ask your legislators to:
Ø  Vote against any budget that includes leasing our state forests and parks to raise money
Ø  Tell their leadership that they plan to vote against any budget that includes leasing state parks and forests

For more information on natural gas drilling, visit: sierraclub.org/naturalgas or call 717.232.0101 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Statement on Governor Corbett's Plans to Lease More State Forests and State Parks for New Drilling

Delivered by Chapter Director, Joanne Kilgour, June 17, 2014
Over the past several years, the landscape of Pennsylvania has been permanently altered by natural gas development. Now, Governor Corbett plans to open up state forest and parklands to additional gas leases. The Corbett Administration claims that these new leases will create no additional long-term surface disturbance – but we will not be deceived by this misleading rhetoric.
We KNOW that the impacts of natural gas development do not respect the artificial boundary between public and private land. We KNOW that previously leased lands are likely to see new wells, well pads, compressor stations, access road, and pipelines. We KNOW that not a SINGLE well pad in state forest land has been fully reclaimed.

Joanne Kilgour speaking at the Capitol
We - like the thousands of Pennsylvanians who have been struggling with the on-the-ground realities of natural gas development - KNOW that there is no such thing as non-surface impact drilling. To suggest otherwise is a misrepresentation of reality, and an insult to those who have lived with wells on or near their property.
The Environmental Rights Amendment to the PA Constitution states: “Pennsylvania's public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of ALL the people.”
The Governor’s plan for our state lands is out of step with the very constitution he is sworn to uphold. Additional leasing will only extend the harm to our valued state forests and parks, turning land held in the public trust into an industrial zone held in trust for the gas companies. Please stand with us and call on the legislature to say no to new leasing of our land.