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PASA adopts policy statement on natural gas extraction

July 3, 2012

The Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) recently adopted a policy statement on unconventional natural gas extraction after considering comments from the organization’s members and supporters.

In its Statement on Unconventional Natural Gas Extraction, PASA asserts its position in favor of a moratorium on unconventional gas extraction until it is determined that the practice will not impair the ability of farms to profitably produce healthy food while respecting the state’s air quality, water resources and natural environment.

The statement specifies that unconventional gas drilling affects local farmers and farms, the food they produce and the consumers who eat it. It further urges the governor and Legislature of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to use the moratorium to re-evaluate the safety of methods used in natural gas extraction and its potential threat to watersheds, food safety and the quality of life of farmers.

PASA struggled with the issue of unconventional natural gas extraction, involving long horizontal drilling and hydro-fracturing, or “fracking,” for a long time before arriving at the policy statement. “We really wanted to get this right, considering the needs and interests of our members on all sides of this critical issue, while also firmly adhering to our mission,” said PASA executive director Brian Snyder.”

The PASA board is hopeful that the statement can serve to rally interest in examining the natural gas extraction industry more closely at a time when lower prices have also raised questions about its economic feasibility. With over 6,000 members, PASA is one of the largest and most active sustainable agriculture organizations in the U.S.

Since PASA formed in 1992, the board of directors has developed formal position statements on specific policy issues of relevance to agriculture, with an aim to supporting sustainable farms and food systems. PASA’s mission, as reflected in such policy statements, is to support profitable farms that produce healthy food for all people while respecting the natural environment. For more information, visit See the official statement at