You’re Fired! How Corbett Is Sacrificing State Parks & Game Lands to Gas Drilling

Blue Monday
Pennsylvania has leased a full one-third of its 2.1 million-acre forest system for oil and gas drilling – that’s 700,000 acres – and more than 130,000 acres are for Fracking.

Nevertheless, Don Hopey reported in today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Governor Corbett has pink-slipped the Executive Director of the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Citizens Advisory Council, Kurt Leitholf, “having determined that determined this position was no longer needed.

Mr. Leitholf has had the job since 1996, and under the Rendell Administration, the DCNR warned that “additional oil and gas development would damage the ecology and wild character of the forests.” Since taking office, Corbett has cut the DCNR’s budget by $30 million.

Hopey, who has long covered this particular aspect of the Marcellus issue, went on to report…

Eric Martin, one of two remaining original council members, said Mr. Leitholf’s firing has less to do with the budget and more to do with an attempt by the Corbett administration to pre-empt public oversight of DCNR at a time when the administration is said to be considering opening up more state forest land for Marcellus Shale gas drilling…

Jeff Schmidt, director of the Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter, said Mr. Leitholf’s firing undercuts the independence of the advisory committee and will hamper its ability to scrutinize drilling in state forests and parks at a crucial time.

If you value transparency in government, and you revere our public lands, you’ll want to read Hopey’s entire article: Corbett fires conservation official, Action could affect state’s oversight of drilling in parks.

To learn more about the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Natural Gas Drilling, visit: http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/naturalgasexploration/history/index.htm.

 

UPDATE:

On Tuesday, January 17, 2011, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette a summary of Hopey’s article appeared, noting:

The advisory council’s next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 25, and members should make sure they tell the Corbett administration loud and clear that they are entitled to, and expect to have, their own, independent director. The budget can be trimmed elsewhere.

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One Response to “You’re Fired! How Corbett Is Sacrificing State Parks & Game Lands to Gas Drilling”

  1. Melati Says:

    All all the tihgns to write about in PA and on KeystonePolitics continuously, it's fracking and gas drilling. It's the intersection of politics, jobs, government revenue, taxes, regulation, the environment, US national security. Talk about intense. I'm mindful of this just having spent a weekend in an area of western PA where you could drive 15 minutes in any direction and find gas drilling going on. I know a large family that owns 160 acres in this part of the world and the question of what to do about their land and gas drilling is completely tearing them apart. That is just one family.

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