Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gas drilling in PA state forests of great concern for conservation chief

Published December 13, 2009 in the Scranton Times Tribune.
Written by Robert Smith
HARRISBURG - As Pennsylvania prepares for what could be a 50-year period of drilling for deep natural gas pockets in its state forests, the long-term health of these previously damaged forests is on the mind of the state's top conservation official.  John Quigley, the acting secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, is preparing to receive bids next month from drilling companies for 32,000 acres of state forest land in the Marcellus Shale formation.  

Much of the acreage in Northcentral Pennsylvania targeted for drilling was owned in the 19th century by timber companies, which clear-cut trees and left millions of acres of denuded and vulnerable to erosion.  The state purchased that land 100 years ago for the public benefit, and professional foresters nurtured the second-growth hardwood forests that exist today.  "The forest you see there is 100 years old," said Mr. Quigley in an office interview last week. "It recovered from the denuded landscape. We have to make sure we don't go back to that."
To read the entire article, click HERE.