Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pennsylvania welcomes gas drillers to its parks and lakes

How short-sighted can a state be?

Ignoring the disastrous, potential impacts for wildlife and the environment, the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission is opening up state parks and lakes to the natural gas drilling industry.

The commission plans to lease thousands of acres of public land around streams and lakes for gas drilling rigs. It also will sell water from state owned lakes to drilling companies for use in hydro-fracturing, or fracking. That, as you probably know, involves the blasting of millions of gallons of water, sand and hazardous chemicals into buried shale rock to allow natural gas to escape.

"We've come to the conclusion that it would be irresponsible not to lease," said John Arway, the commission's executive director. 

Yes, the man actually used the word "irresponsible" to justify the decision to turn portions of state parks into industrial zones.

You might think you're dreaming.  A bad dream. 

This can not really be happening, can it? 

Especially in a state where, not to many decades ago, leaders of another energy industry--coal--promised development and jobs. Like the current band of energy executives, they also spread around a lot of money, making damn sure the right political leaders were kept happy.

In the end, the coal barons left, sticking the state and its residents with the bill--thousands of acres of useless, destroyed land, collapsing surfaces, mountains of coal waste, and millions of gallons of acidic mine discharges that continue to poison streams to this day.

Considering that pitiful legacy and after all the money that taxpayers have spent to develop state parks and lakes, and with all the benefits they  provided for hunters, hikers, campers, boaters and swimmers, this can't really be happening. Can it?

Oh, yes it can.  Read it and weep:

Pa. Fish & Boat Commission to sell gas leases

Fish and Boat Commission hopes to share in Marcellus fees

Fish and Boat Commission Establishes Natural Gas Leasing and Water Access Programs

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission teams with gas drillers

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