For those of us who enjoy hunting, fishing, hiking, and other recreation in our prized State Game Lands, the outlook is bleak.
The administration of Governor Tom Wolf has issued its first four fracking permits on public land, which he was lauded for protecting in January. On February 11th and 12th, four permits were issued to Seneca Resources for a new well pad in State Game Lands 30, McKean County, public land that has already been ravaged by gas development (pictured above).
At a January 29th press conference, Wolf announced a gas leasing pardon for state parks and additional state forest land, leaving the 700,000 acres of already leased public land on the table for fracking.
He said, “These state lands are intended to be refuges; places people can go to enjoy natural beauty. I absolutely want to do natural gas I think if we do it right.”
Instead of conserving Pennsylvania’s rural heritage, doing it “right” for Tom Wolf means that the 700,000 acres of leased land will remain a playground for oil and gas companies. Outside of the media spotlight, he must believe that some public lands aren’t worth protection. Here is a state map of blue and light blue areas that can be fracked.
The total number of Wolf well permits in PA DEP online reports is now 166 through February 13, 2015. As we have noted, this puts the Wolf administration on pace to permit between 7,000 and 9,000 shale gas wells in his first term.