February 5, 2014 —
HARRISBURG, PA — The environmental group PennFuture is criticizing Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed budget, which he presented to the PA General Assembly on February 4, because it includes $75 million in revenue that would be generated by lifting the moratorium on increased drilling on state park and forest lands.
“This will place more and more of the budget burden on the backs of public lands,” said Cindy Dunn, president and chief executive officer of PennFuture. “In announ-cing that he seeks to lift a three-year-old moratorium to expand leasing of public lands for gas development, the governor reveals the short-sighted nature of his stewardship of our natural resources by trading more long-term harm to our state parks and forests in return for short-term economic gain.”
“We are increasingly concerned that, absent a healthy economy and responsible drilling tax on natural gas development, Gov. Corbett is making the general fund reliant on the rapid exploitation of resources that he should, instead, be conserving for this and future generations,” continued Dunn.
Corbett’s proposal would not allow companies to construct new well pads, but would allow them to acquire new gas leases near existing sites, which budget secretary Charles Zogby called a restrictive approach to drilling.
In his budget address, Corbett said that Pennsylvania is on target to become the second-largest natural gas producer in the country, and he praised shale gas as offering the United States energy independence .
The PennFuture press release also criticized “the proposed diversion of $117.5 million from the state’s Oil and Gas Lease Fund (OGLF) as operational budget monies for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).”