Corbett lifts ban on Marcellus Shale drilling in state forests
Not good news for Pennsylvania or it’s state forests.
Governor Tom Corbett has rescinded the drilling moratorium put in place by former Governor Ed Rendell last October. The DEP thinks it can better regulate and protect the state’s forest land without the moratorium.
Pittsburgh Business Times reports that “the policy required any operators who wanted to drill on public land to get an assessment of environmental impacts from the Department of Conservation and National Resources (DCNR) before applying for a permit with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).” This section of the DEP website has been erased and DCNR is now out of the equation when it comes to leasing or drilling.
Updated: The Associated Press is reporting that policies have been scaled back, but that the moratorium itself has not been lifted. On Saturday, the Corbett administration killed a policy already in place designed to shield the state’s forests and parks.
John Quigley, former head of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said about the law just reversed, “There are gaping holes in the ability of state government to protect public lands where the state doesn’t own mineral rights and this was designed to close that in a proven and realistic way.”
Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley said that the administration “believes that we should be drilling on state land.” and that “repealing the policy is part of a two-part process of reopening state lands to drilling rigs.”