Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

A Drill Too Far Corbett Takes Protection Away from Sensitive Lands

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

A Drill Too Far Corbett Takes Protection Away from Sensitive Lands

Article excerpt

In lifting a four-year-old ban, Gov. Tom Corbett tried to be careful last week in saying what kind of drilling activity could occur at newly opened acres in state parks and forests. But he wasn't careful enough - he should have left the moratorium in place.

Although 700,000 acres of state forest land is already available for gas drilling and oil and gas wells have piped $582 million in the last five years into the state budget, Mr. Corbett is allowing more wilderness to be leased for exploration to help the state erase a year-end deficit. The executive order he issued Friday ends the protection given by his predecessor, Gov. Ed Rendell, to 800,000 acres.

Mr. Rendell set those public lands aside, while allowing others to be drilled, because they contain old growth forests, host fragile ecosystems or provide habitats for rare and endangered species. With all the opportunity for drilling on or under other state lands, this was a sensible boundary to keep. …

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