More than 7900 Marcellus drilling permits have been issued. Private land owners have leased huge quantities of their land and eagerly wait in most cases for drilling and royalty checks to start.
More than 700,000 acres of 2.2 million acres of the state forest has been leased over decades for gas drilling. The Pennsylvania Game Commission has leased state game lands. The Fish and Boat Commission is considering doing so.
But a redline for an overwhelming majority of Pennsylvanians is the state park system. Drilling there will destroy the essence of a state park and, make no mistake about it, drilling there will trigger a public relations and political disaster for the companies involved and the gas industry itself.
The blowout and blowback would be huge. Polling shows in fact that 77% oppose further drilling in the state forests where drilling has taken place for more than 50 years. Probably 85% of the public will oppose drilling in state parks.
PennFuture has launched a campaign to stop drilling in Pennsylvania state parks. For details go to http://www.pennfuture.org/ on the home page and see www.post-gazette.com/pg/11272/1178431-503.stm?cmpid=marcellusshale.xml#ixzz1ZLw4pmcK.
The campaign features a pledge placed before the gas industry to not drill in state parks or take gas from state parks and legislative changes that would include a major impact fee for drilling in state parks that presumably would lessen the profit from doing so.
Gas companies should stay on land where they are wanted. Private landowners want in many cases drilling. The people of Pennsylvania own the state parks, and they don't want state parks drilled. Drilling in state parks would be a disaster for everyone.