I blogged about this about a month ago here, but recent revelations have warranted a fresh entry on this matter. As the title of this Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article states, oil and gas drilling is "out of control" in Pennsylvania's Allegheny National Forest. The Allegheny stands as a sad example of what is wrong with our energy policy and how we will never drill ourselves to energy independence.
Oil and gas drilling is devastating this area of Pennsylvania, not just the Allegheny National Forest. As the article states:
What's going on atop Pennsylvania's northwestern plateau is an oil and gas boom that is among the biggest since 1859 when Edwin Drake drilled the well that launched the modern oil industry in Venango County, south of Titusville.
The Forest Service is falling all over itself to demonstrate that they are doing what they can to limit the impact of drilling in the Allegheny. According to Forest Service spokesman Steve Miller:
"We've done a lot of things in terms of personnel and focus on the most critical issues where there is the highest likelihood of resource damage," Mr. Miller said. "The operators have the right to access the minerals under Pennsylvania law, but we are working with them to do the least amount of damage."
This, however, is in stark contrast to the Forest Service's own words and their record of complying with environmental laws. First, the Forest Service has stated on page 3-276 in this Draft Environmental Impact Statement that those
seeking a more remote and less developed recreation experience could be displaced to other State or National Forests where remote, semi-primitive settings are more readily available.
This is basically the Forest Service telling the oil industry "we've got your back." The Forest Service is willing to sacrifice the Allegheny National Forest to the oil industry at the expense of public recreation, quality wildlife habitat, and watershed protection.
This is evidenced by the fact that the Forest Service has allowed drilling to occur in sensitive areas without the proper permits, as the Post-Gazette article states.
Please contact the following people and let them know this is no way to manage the Allegheny National Forest: