Gov. Wolf signs order halting new gas leases in state parks, forests | Blogh

Gov. Wolf signs order halting new gas leases in state parks, forests

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Living up to one of his campaign promises, Gov. Tom Wolf signed an executive order today that will prevent the state from signing new oil and gas leases in state parks and forests.

“Natural gas development is vital to Pennsylvania’s economy, but so is the economic and environmental viability of our parks and forests,” Wolf said during a signing event at Benjamin Rush State Park in Philadelphia. “This is about striking the right balance. Our state parks and forests are unique assets that should be preserved, protected, and utilized by our residents for recreational purposes.”

According to a release: “Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has concluded that additional leasing jeopardizes the agency’s ability to sustain the commonwealth’s gold-standard forest certification, which is vital the economic and environmental well-being of the state’s parks and forests.”

The complete release is below.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 29, 2015
Governor Wolf Signs Executive Order Reinstating Moratorium On New Leases For Oil and Gas Development In State Parks and Forests

Philadelphia, PA — Governor Tom Wolf today signed an executive order reinstating a moratorium on new leases for oil and gas development in state parks and forests. At an event in Benjamin Rush State Park, Governor Wolf signed the executive order with members of the General Assembly in attendance.

“Natural gas development is vital to Pennsylvania’s economy, but so is the economic and environmental viability of our parks and forests,” said Governor Wolf. “This is about striking the right balance. Our state parks and forests are unique assets that should be preserved, protected, and utilized by our residents for recreational purposes.”

“Our parks host 38 million visitors annually, support over 13,000 jobs, and provide $1.2 billion to the state’s economy,” Governor Wolf continued. “We should be looking for opportunities to grow our recreational and tourism economy through a revitalized parks and forest system that ensures we are preserving our natural resources and protecting our people and the environment.”

Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has concluded that additional leasing jeopardizes the agency’s ability to sustain the commonwealth’s gold-standard forest certification, which is vital the economic and environmental well-being of the state’s parks and forests. The executive order states that effective immediately, DCNR is directed to protect the lands of the Commonwealth that are held in trust for its citizens and for future generations, and subject to future advice and recommendations made by DCNR, no State Park and State Forest lands owned and/or managed by DCNR shall be leased for oil and gas development.

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