Sunday, June 2, 2013

Questions about fracking in a Pa forest? Ask 'em quickly

Waterfall at Rock Run in the Loyalsock Forest  Photo: Lindsay LIzarsksi WHYY/Newsworks

Who owns the rights to drill/frack for natural gas in Pennsylvania's Loyalsock State Forest? How much fracking is the state preparing to allow? What are the potential damages to the forest, groundwater, surface water? Birds and other wildlife? How much will drilling companies be required to pay to build their roads, drilling pads and rigs, gathering lines and compressor stations it? Where will the money go?

These are just some of the questions that residents of Pennsylvania might have. So far, answers have been few because negotiations between the state and Anadarko Petroleum have largely taken place behind closed doors--a fact protested by environmentalists and editorial writers.

In response, the state's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has scheduled a single public hearing to be held between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., Monday, June 3,
at Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pa.

Photo: Lindsay LIzarsksi WHYY/Newsworks
In a news release, the DCNR says that the meeting will begin with a short power-point presentation about the Loyalsock situation by Marcellus Program Manager Arianne Proctor. Questions will be answered by Secretary Allan, Proctor and State Forester Dan Devlin.

Following the question and answer session, participants will be offered the opportunity to make comments with a five-minute time limit. 

Why just one, two-hour meeting? Why is it being conducted at a time of the day when many are at work?  Why so little time for the public to speak?

Anyone else got the sense that this is a less-than-genuine effort to solicit public opinion?

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We recommend FracTracker's valuable backgrounder Controversy in the Loyalsock. Be sure to scroll to the bottom for a map. Like most pictures, it’s is worth a thousand words. If you click on the full-screen link, you can select the map's legend to see where all the proposed well pads, lines and roads would be located. It gives you a visual sense of the scope and potential impact of the undertaking.

Not that you need to worry. The governor and the DCNR's got your back. And you've got your five minutes. Make the most of them.

Care to tell us here what you think? Feel free to do so in the comments box below.
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Related environmental news stories:
Focus of fracking fight shifts to Loyalsock State Forest 
DCNR to hold meeting on potential gas drilling in Loyalsock State Forest
Lovers of Pa.'s Loyalsock Forest Fight to Limit Drilling There

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