PA DCNR Blocks Drilling in Loyalsock State Forest – For Now

Back in April, MDN told you about a ginned-up “controversy” over Anadarko Petroleum’s plan to drill in the Loyalsock State Forest that covers parts of Lycoming, Sullivan and Bradford counties in PA (see Manufactured Controversy over Drilling in Loyalsock State Forest). Anadarko owns the lease rights to 25,000 acres underneath the Loyalsock. Even though Anadarko provided the state with their plan to drill (as requested, in March 2012), the state Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) last week temporarily refused their application to begin drilling. Why? Not because of any problems with the proposed plan, but because another driller, Southwestern Energy, owns the rights to about the same amount of acreage and has not submitted a plan to drill on their acreage.

Is it fair that Anadarko be held back because Southwestern isn’t ready to drill yet? Did the DCNR stipulate that all drillers must supply a drilling plan first, when Anadarko submitted their plan back in March 2012? Why did it take until October 2013 for the DCNR to tell Anadarko that Southwestern has to file too? Troubling questions…

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