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.”
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 Loyalsock@pa.gov