Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Governor’s Office Responds To Post-Gazette Article On Allegheny Forest Insect Plan

Patrick Henderson, Deputy Chief of Staff for Gov. Corbett, responded to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette June 14 alleging a conspiracy to open the Allegheny National Forest to more logging by using provisions in the new federal Farm Bill.  The text of the response follows--
Dear Editor:
True to form, Don Hopey’s recent article (Corbett’s Designation of Forest as Insect Area Questioned) seeks to ‘uncover’ an illicit conspiracy between the Corbett administration and timber industry that simply doesn’t exist over an important designation of the Allegheny National Forest which will allow it to be managed sustainably for decades to come.
Importantly, Mr. Hopey errs factually by stating that the Corbett administration designated the forest as an ‘insect area’.  In fact, such a designation is made by the Obama Administration through the United States Department of Agriculture.  Under federal law, the role of the state is simply to gather factual and relevant information and submit a petition for review by the federal government.       
While the petition to the Obama Administration must, under federal law, be signed by the governor, the reality is that the petition is prepared by experts within the state Departments of Agriculture and Conservation and Natural Resources.  
Despite being informed of the process utilized to prepare the petition, Mr. Hopey intentionally omits from his article the fact that multiple experts were consulted, including the Nature Conservancy, a nationally recognized conservation organization that has assisted state and federal foresters sustainably manage public lands.
In an odd effort to advance his conspiracy theory, Mr. Hopey cites the fact that the states of New York and West Virginia issued press releases thanking the Obama Administration for their designations.  Gov. Corbett also expressed gratitude for the designation - but he did so directly, not through a press release.  
Mr. Hopey also fails to acknowledge that the designation by the Obama Administration of the Allegheny National Forest as an insect area was not top secret news, as it was publicly reported by the Bradford Era weeks ago.
To date, no one has contacted us to express their opposition to this designation.  Most see the designation for what it is – an example of bipartisan cooperation between the Corbett and Obama administrations, aimed at enhancing the health of the Allegheny National Forest.
Environmentalists: Allegheny Forest Open To More Logging

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner