Jan. 29, 2015
Brian Wagner, Pennsylvania Council President, 484-894-8289, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Taylor, Eastern Communications Director, 540-353-3556, email@example.com
HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolfs reinstatement of a moratorium on new oil and gas leases on state forest and park lands will provide needed protection for the states valuable fish and wildlife resources, according to the nations largest trout conservation organization.
Trout Unlimited applauds Gov. Wolfs executive order, signed Thursday, which reinstates a moratorium first established in Oct. 2010 by Gov. Ed Rendell. In May 2014, Gov. Tom Corbett implemented a policy that kept the restriction on development on state park and state forest lands in place, but which allowed horizontal drilling from adjacent properties to tap gas resources.
“Our state parks and forests represent some of the best intact habitat for trout in Pennsylvania, especially our native brook trout, said Brian Wagner, president of the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited. These places are special to all sportsmen for the abundant game and the opportunity to fish and hunt in an unspoiled setting. These places deserve the protection that Governor Wolf’s moratorium on new leasing will provide.”
Trout Unlimiteds recently released 10 Special Places report highlights public lands in the East that could be at risk from shale gas development. Pennsylvanias Laurel Highlands, Slate Run and the headwaters of the Pine, Genesee and Allegheny rivers were among the areas included in the report because of the extraordinary public hunting and angling opportunities in each place. The Governors decision today helps protect these special places in the short-term, but additional permanent protections are needed.
Pennsylvania has 2.2 million acres of state forest land, and another 283,000 acres of parks. Nearly half of the state-owned land that overlies the Marcellus shale formation, roughly 700,000 acres, is already under some form of lease.
Thursdays executive order will not stop the drilling of wells on those previously leased lands. Only about one-third of the potential wells on those lands have been drilled, meaning the number of wells could eventually triple.
Trout Unlimited promotes responsible energy development and, in collaboration with others, seeks to ensure that all reasonable efforts are made to avoid or mitigate the impacts such development may have on important coldwater resources.
Trout Unlimited is the nations oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization, with more than 150,000 members nationally and 13,000 in Pennsylvania dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North Americas trout and salmon and their watersheds. Follow TU on Facebook and Twitter, and visit us online at tu.org.