Wednesday, January 31, 2018

PennFuture: State Parks & Forests Must Remain Protected From Natural Gas Drilling

PennFuture Wednesday said it “unequivocally opposes” a resolution making its way through the state Senate today that urges Gov. Tom Wolf to reverse his moratorium on new natural gas drilling leases in state parks.
Senate Resolution 104 (Bartolotta-R-Washington) urging the Governor to end the moratorium on new non-surface disturbance natural gas drilling on state forest land (sponsor summary) was reported out of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Tuesday with Republicans supporting, Democrats opposed.
“Our state parks and forests must be protected and preserved for the natural resources that they are: green spaces that citizens can enjoy with their friends and families; spaces that contribute to what attracts people to our great Commonwealth,” said PennFuture Vice President and Chief of Staff Matthew Stepp. “Recreational opportunities within our state parks and the towns that hold them contribute to our economy in vast ways, and drilling in areas that should be treasured goes against the common sense notion that state parks should be protected.”
The moratorium on new natural gas leases in state parks and forestlands dates back to the very first days of the Wolf administration, implemented on January 29, 2015, via executive order.
“We applaud the governor for his early implementation of this moratorium on drilling in state parks and forests, and we urge him to stand firm against this resolution, which would have the potential to devastate Pennsylvania’s forests, including the Loyalsock community and so many more,” Stepp said.
Gov. Wolf's press secretary JJ Abbott reiterated the Governor remains opposed to more drilling in state parks and forests--
"Natural gas development is vital to Pennsylvania’s economy, but so is the economic and environmental viability of our parks and forests," he said.
"Gov. Wolf believes we currently have the right balance as our state parks and forests are unique assets that should be preserved, protected, and utilized by our residents for recreational purposes. Gov. Wolf has focused on finding opportunities to grow our recreational and tourism economy through a revitalized parks and forest system that ensures we are preserving our natural resources and protecting our people and the environment."
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