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.
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.