Over a million Pennsylvania hunters and anglers care deeply about our forest and water resources. Since we believe in the good stewardship of our public lands, we ask the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to act prudently and adhere to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission principle of "Resource First" in regard to development of shale gas.
Our world-class trout streams of the northern tier are revered among anglers. We understand that the protective cover of each watershed is vital to our coldwater fisheries. Forests increase water infiltration and decrease runoff, but gas development changes all that.
To assure protection of our resources, a study of the total build-out of wells, water withdrawals and wastewater discharges within every watershed must be prepared before each gas drilling operation is permitted.
Example: In Lycoming County, there are 26,000 acres of Loyalsock State Forest where DCNR has the power of the Commonwealth Court (1989 Clarence Moore decision) to completely protect the surface on 74 percent of the land. The 50-plus wetlands and relatively unfragmented forest are prized by hunters and anglers.
Hunting, fishing, hiking and wildlife-associated recreation on our public lands are low-impact generators of economic activity. Remember our past experiences with the boom and bust of timber, oil and coal. We must learn from the past.
The full impacts of gas drilling must be assessed, and DCNR must write a plan for appropriate mitigation and remediation/reclamation measures.
If we can't measure it, we can't manage it.
Pennsylvania Forest Coalition
Boiling Springs, Pa.