PA DCNR Releases Report: Drilling Impacts on State Land/Forests

DCNR logoYesterday the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) released a new report titled “Shale-Gas Monitoring Report” (full copy embedded below), the first in a series of ongoing reports on the impacts of Marcellus Shale drilling on PA’s state-owned land, including state forests. The DCNR was given a $6 million budget more than three years ago to study drilling impacts. This is the first report, eagerly anticipated by anti-drilling groups like PennFuture. Unfortunately for them, the study contains no indications that drilling is a disaster for public lands, as they had wanted it to say. In fact, the report found that out of 2 million acres of state-owned land, only 1,500 acres were converted from “wild space” to use for drilling (roads, drill pads, compressor stations, etc.). That’s 0.075%–not even 1/10th of a single percentage point. In other words–nothing. Another 9,340 acres were partially developed. Still a very low number and not the environmental holocaust predicted by anti-drillers.

Dan Devlin, acting deputy secretary for Parks and Forestry, wrote this in the preface: “…shale-gas production on state forest lands is neither benign nor catastrophic. There are clearly impacts and tradeoffs associated with this activity. The question is what tradeoffs are acceptable. The Bureau of Forestry considers these tradeoffs and attempts to balance the various uses and values of the forest.” PennFuture president and CEO Cindy Dunn worked herself up into a lather, saying this about the report: “The suggestion that this industrial activity can be ‘carefully managed’ provides scant comfort to Pennsylvanians who frequent Penn’s Woods.” Below we have the full 268-page report, the DCNR press announcement about the report, and PennFuture’s snit fit response…

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