Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Tale of Two State's Forest Plans

New York citizens have until 4:45 pm this Friday to let NY Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) know how they feel about leasing state forests for gas and oil drilling. That's the deadline for commenting on DEC’s “Strategic Plan for State Forest Management”.

Meanwhile, south of the border, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell has signed an executive order that effectively places a moratorium on drilling in PA’s state forests. This executive order, he says, will “protect Pennsylvania’s state forests from any new natural gas development activities that would disturb the surface of these areas and jeopardize fragile ecosystems.”

A recent evaluation of the state forest system conducted by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources showed that additional leases could endanger the environmental quality of the forests. Not only would further leasing – and drilling – alter the ecological integrity and character of the forest system, but it would also “devastate our ecotourism industry and jeopardize the green certification upon which the state’s forest products industry depends,” said Rendell.

After noting that the forests provide recreation opportunities that draw tourist dollars into the state, and the importance of the lumber industry, Rendell said, “We simply cannot risk subjecting these sensitive and high-value tracts to the same kind of environmental accidents and mishaps that have happened on private lands elsewhere in the state because of the drilling industry’s poor practices.”  You can read his Oct. 26 executive order here.

Given PA’s experiences with Marcellus drilling, you’d think the NY DEC would be paying attention. Maybe they are. Maybe the folks at DEC understand how industrial drilling will harm the state’s forest, but they can’t say anything because they’ll get fired….


  1. Perfect! I'm going to use this in my comments to DEC. Thanks