Target: Pennsylvania State House Majority Leader Dave Reed
Goal: Save state parks and forests from toxic gas drilling
Dangerous and toxic gas drilling is taking place on State Forest lands in Pennsylvania, which are being leased to private energy companies. As a result of this nefarious policy, already over 700,000 acres of state forest and parkland have been leased for natural gas extraction. This practice badly damages and endangers Pennsylvania’s rich natural heritage as well as severely disrupting delicate wildlife habitats throughout the state. Moreover, it violates the state Constitution’s Environmental Rights Amendment, which makes it clear that the state’s public lands and open spaces are the common property of the citizens of Pennsylvania, as opposed to being the private property of the governor or members of the General Assembly.
As if aware of the destructive impact of allowing private companies to drill in state parks, former Governor Rendell had placed a moratorium on further leasing of public lands shortly before leaving office. However, shortly upon assuming office, Governor Tom Corbett lifted the moratorium and began leasing public lands once again. Currently, Corbett is pushing to lease a further 25,000 acres for drilling in order to generate revenue for the state. The matter is currently being debated by a seven judge panel of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.
The pretext for leasing state forest lands is that it generates much needed revenue for the state. However, revenue should not be prioritized over conservation or the constitutional rights of people to enjoy and preserve their natural heritage. It is also worth pointing out that the state parks are themselves a source of revenue simply by virtue of their recreational value. State parks attract over 38 million visitors and generate $1.1 billion in economic activity every year.
By signing this petition you will help protect Pennsylvania’s rich natural heritage from being decimated and exploited. Tell the Pennsylvania General Assembly to create legislation specifically forbidding all drilling and prospecting in state park lands.
Dear Representative Reed,
The careless destruction of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests must be stopped at once. The state has been leasing public lands for drilling to obtain natural gas, and already 700,000 acres have been consigned to this grim fate.
Not only is this practice destructive to Pennsylvania’s natural heritage, but it stands in direct violation of the state constitution’s Environmental Rights Amendment. The amendment makes it clear that the people of Pennsylvania have a right to ‘the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and aesthetic values of the environment.’
I hereby urge you to take action and generate legislation that will forbid all further leasing of state park and state forest lands in Pennsylvania for drilling and any other type of prospecting.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Luis Miguel