Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sen. Mary Jo White Applauds Corbett's Repeal Of Rendell State Lands Drilling Permit Policy

Sen. Mary Jo White (R-Venango), Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, applauded Gov. Corbett for repealing the policy of imposing additional restrictions on oil and gas drilling on State Park and Forest Land as part of the Department of Environmental Protection's standard well-permitting process.
"The Governor took the appropriate action in repealing the policy," said Sen. White. "As I outlined in my letter to Gov. Rendell last November, the policy was irresponsible, and could potentially cost Pennsylvania taxpayers tens of millions of dollars from the impairment of existing contracts."
Sen. White added by repealing the policy, Gov. Corbett properly upheld a legal precedent set in the case of Belden & Blake Corporation v. DCNR, where the courts prohibited the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources from imposing surface use agreements and drilling conditions on permit applicants who owned the subsurface mineral rights underlying state park land.
"DEP has done a good job of working to ensure that natural gas is developed responsibly, and DCNR has negotiated and executed lease agreements which contain meaningful added protections for publicly-owned lands," said Sen. White. "However, if there is justification for general conditions on natural gas production on all state lands, these should be adopted by statute or regulation, and must adhere to settled case law."

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