Energy. Environment. Economy.

Opponents of Drilling in Loyalsock State Forest Deliver Petitions

Rep. Greg Vitali (D- Delaware) opposes plans to put 26 well pads in the Loyalsock State Forest.

Marie Cusick/StateImpact Pennsylvania

Rep. Greg Vitali (D- Delaware) opposes plans to put 26 well pads in the Loyalsock State Forest.

Opponents of expanding natural gas drilling in the Loyalsock State Forest continue to pressure the Corbett administration.

Today a small group of environmental advocates held a press conference at the Capitol and delivered thousands of petitions to Governor Corbett’s office.

The groups are urging the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) to restrict drilling in a 25,000 acre swath of state forest known as the Clarence Moore lands.

Development plans call for 26 well pads and four compressor stations in the forest.

Although the Commonwealth controls the surface rights on about 18,000 acres, Anadarko Petroleum, along with Southwestern Energy Corporation, can exercise surface control on about 7,000 acres in the Loyalsock.  Some of that land is considered the most sensitive.

Opponents want DCNR to use their control over the 18,000 acres as leverage to keep Anadarko off the most sensitive parts of the forest.

Rep. Greg Vitali (D- Delaware) would like to see more public hearings on the proposals.

“The plan would irreparably damage the character of the forest,” he said, “This truly is a statewide issue.”

DCNR held a public hearing in June in Williamsport. Nearly 500 people attended– all were opposed to expanding drilling.

The agency’s new acting Secretary Ellen Ferretti also met with environmental groups in July to discuss their concerns.

“We do believe we have the ability to strongly influence the companies,” says DCNR spokeswoman Christina Novak. “But we do not own the mineral rights, and we do need to provide access.”

Novak says the agency hasn’t decided whether it will hold more public meetings but welcomes comments at



  • CitizenSane1

    “Loyalsock State Forest is home to some of Pennsylvania’s most beautiful and treasured natural resources,” Vitali said. “Gov. Corbett should do everything in his power to minimize its degradation.” “minimize its degradation”? Seriously? What is an acceptable level of “degradation”? To many people, myself included, the acceptable level is ZERO. Anything else is unacceptable.

    I’ve no doubt that Anadarko values our state lands, but not in the same way that the people who live in PA do. If they did, they would leave it in it’s natural state where it it’s value will continue to increase the longer it is left undisturbed. Anadarko’s intention to keep surface disruption to a minimum and ‘best management practices’ means they’re going to do what is cost-effective for them, not necessarily what is best. That 2% disruption would equal 500+/- acres, and would be spread out in a checker-board pattern throughout the park, which would create un-natural edging, disruption of the natural canopy, and allow invasive species to encroach upon this area forever altering the ecology of the Loyalsock Forest and threatening the indigenous plants and wildlife. The bottom line here, is that we the people of PA do not want our state lands carved up and drilled into oblivion, and we’re not going to stand idly by and let it happen.

    • Iris Marie Bloom

      It’s great Marie Cusick does cover this story. But, what does it mean to refer to a press conference as “small” when 60% of the population of Pennsylvania wants a moratorium on drilling, period; and probably close to 100% of the PA population wants ZERO fracking in the Loyalsock or any state forest?
      “Minimizing” impacts is an absurd approach when it comes to protecting wilderness. In the Loyalsock State Forest, the Clarence Moore Lands are irreplaceable, period. The industry has already shown that it can’t minimize anything, anywhere: it’s had nine years to frack Pennsylvania and the radioactive waste accumulating in our waters; the intense air pollution in fracking areas; the extreme noise that prevents songbirds from finding mates; the pipeline drilling; the compressor stations’ toxic emissions to air; the access roads, are all an inherently destructive part of shale gas development even separate from the drilling and fracking stages.
      Are environmentalists expected to rally 1,500 people together every week or so in order to be considered a “large” group? When the Marcellus Shale Coalition holds a press conference, are they called “small” — when has it been reported that “A small group of frackers held a press conference”? Why the double standard in reporting these days?
      Why is StateImpact now starting to use “industry-friendly” inaccurate language routinely in reporting? “Clean-burning” is PR, Public Relations, language; it is inaccurate; it is a myth; it is a lie. Even burned in a furnace or power plant, fracked gas is a FOSSIL FUEL with hydrocarbon emissions! Since we are living in the last years when it’s possible to do anything at all about climate, the false implication of “good for climate” or “good for air” must be countered by real reporting with accurate facts. “Clean-burning” is a lie: it is pure frackerspeak. Scientists, from Cornell to NOAA, have been showing since 2009 that methane leaks from shale gas development, combined with CO2 emissions from millions of truck trips, flaring, refining and more, make shale gas far worse for climate than coal.
      Reporting is hard, but please double-check check for potentially unexamined or built-in bias. These are literally life and death issues for wildlife and humans alike, as well as for future generations. The power these corporations have is unchecked by government or by any force on earth other than (largely unfunded) grassroots resisters. But grassroots resisters, by organizing large demonstrations, seem then to be measured against the size and scale of the largest (expensive, resource-draining) demonstrations instead of by normal press conference standards. If the press considers anything other than a huge physical presence to be “small,” it perhaps confuses the general public about the scale of resistance. The consensus against any drilling on the Clarence Moore Lands in the Loyalsock is large, strong, and growing across the state and region.

  • Deborah

    “Restrict” drilling? BAN DRILLING. Corbett, take heed: More and more Pennsylvanians are seeing in you a corrupt traitor to our state, selling our health and our Pennsylvania forests and rivers to your bedmates, the energy industry.
    Get the Frack out of PA! Get Toxic Tom Corbett out!

  • Concerned Enviro.

    Who are our elected officials working for? Is it the taxpayers, or is it the natural gas companies?

  • Craig

    Its not us thats for certain. Loyalsock meeting and “webinar” were a joke!

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