PA Report Recommends Gas Drilling Near Colleges & Prisons

Last week a PA joint legislative committee issued a report recommended that the state consider leasing land around state universities and state prisons for shale gas drilling:

Land surrounding Pennsylvania’s state prisons and the State System of Higher Education colleges are among the commonwealth-owned property that should be considered for gas drilling, according to a report issued this morning.

Issued by a joint legislative committee, the report concludes that agencies beyond the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Game Commission and Fish and Boat Commission should be allowed to enter into lease agreements for gas drilling. Those agencies also should be allowed to retain a portion of any drilling-related revenues, according to the report.

It also noted that 16 state prisons sit on top of the Marcellus Shale formation, mostly in the western portion of the state.

The recommendations in the report echo an interest from lawmakers in tweaking the existing law to broaden authority for leasing to gas drillers.*

*Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Oct 19, 2011) – Allow gas drilling near prisons and colleges, report says