PennEnvironment Praises Governor Wolf for reinstating Moratorium to keep fracking out of parks and forests

Media Contacts
Lina Blount

PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

PennEnvironment applauded today’s announcement by Governor Tom Wolf reinstating the moratorium against further leasing of state parks and forestlands for dangerous fracking.  The Governor made the announcement at Benjamin Rush State Park, just north of Philadelphia.

“Pennsylvanians from every walk of life and all ends of the political spectrum love our state parks and forests and want them to be protected from fracking,” said Lina Blount, Field Associate from PennEnvironment. “Governor Wolf’s actions today help ensure that our state parks and forests receive the protection they deserve, so that our kids and future generations of Pennsylvanians can enjoy them.”

PennEnvironment and a network of local, statewide and national environmental groups have been pressing to repair some of the most egregious efforts to allow fracking in or under state parks and forests that were pushed by Gov. Tom Corbett before he lost his reelection bid.  All told, tens of thousands of concerned Pennsylvanians who love and enjoy the commonwealth’s parks and forests have responded to Gov. Corbett’s short-sighted proposals by calling, emailing and writing their elected officials in defense of these priceless public lands. 

“As a young person who cares about Pennsylvania’s environment, I’m thrilled with this announcement,” said Bryn Mawr College graduate and PennEnvironment intern Chaney Harter. “It’s exciting to see all the letters, emails and phone calls pay off—we’re taught that’s how the political process is supposed to work.  It’s also exciting to think we have a new administration who heard the overwhelming voices of Pennsylvanians who want these lands protected from drilling.”

The issue became a clear environmental wedge issue during last fall’s gubernatorial race.  Tom Wolf had been vocal on the campaign trail about reinstating the ban against fracking in state parks and forests, while Gov. Corbett continued to push for opening up these wild lands for gas drilling in the months leading up to Election Day. This includes rolling back the previously existing moratorium against fracking in state parks and forests, pushing for fracking in pristine areas of Loyalsock State Forest, and attempting to trigger more drilling on public lands by locking in nearly $100 million for the state budget that would have to be raised by drilling in parks and forests.

In response to these rollbacks, PennEnvironment recruited hundreds of Pennsylvanians to hearings and rallies against opening more state parks and forests to fracking; 25,000 called, wrote and emailed their legislators opposing Gov. Corbett’s attacks on our state parks and forests.  

“I am hopeful that Gov. Wolf’s announcement is a sign of things to come for Pennsylvania’s environment,” noted PennEnvironment Executive Director David Masur. “Meaningful protections for the state’s environment will hopefully continue to be a priority for the Wolf administration given how broadly these policies are supported by the state’s residents.”