True to form, Don Hopey’s June 15 article (“Corbett’s Designation of Forest as Insect Area Questioned”) seeks to “uncover” an illicit conspiracy between the Corbett administration and timber industry that simply doesn’t exist over an important designation of the Allegheny National Forest, which will allow it to be managed sustainably for decades to come.
The article’s headline errs by stating that the Corbett administration designated the forest as an “insect area.” In fact, such a designation is made by the Obama administration. Pennsylvania’s role is simply to gather factual and relevant information and submit a petition for review.
While the petition to the Obama administration must, under federal law, be signed by the governor, it is actually prepared by state forestry experts. Despite being informed of this, Mr. Hopey intentionally omits from his article that multiple experts were consulted, including the Nature Conservancy, a nationally recognized conservation organization that has assisted state and federal foresters to sustainably manage public lands.
In an odd effort to advance his conspiracy theory, Mr. Hopey cites the fact that New York and West Virginia issued press releases thanking the Obama administration for their designations. Gov. Tom Corbett also expressed gratitude for the designation — but did so directly, not through a press release. Mr. Hopey also fails to acknowledge the designation of the Allegheny National Forest as an insect area was not top-secret news, as it was publicly reported by the Bradford Era weeks ago.
To date, no one has contacted us to express their opposition to this designation. Most see the designation for what it is — an example of bipartisan cooperation between the Corbett and Obama administrations, aimed at enhancing the health of the Allegheny National Forest.
Office of Gov. Tom Corbett