Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Help Protect Allegheny NF from Unregulated Oil & Gas Drilling

Hello World Family,
Those who use the Allegheny National Forest, please respond to this request about writing concerning this important issue. Thanks to my friend Randy at the Sierra Club, Allegheny Group.

Help Protect Allegheny NF from Unregulated Oil & Gas Drilling

For more than 20 years, the US Forest Service has allowed private oil and gas drillers to explore, drill, and maintain oil and gas wells in Allegheny National Forest without having to obtain permits from the agency. For the first time in two decades, the Forest Service is considering a change to their policy and the forest needs your help!

Over 90 pct of the oil and gas rights under Pennsylvania’s only national forest are privately held. Over the last ten years, oil and gas drilling has exploded in the forest, which now holds close to 12,000 active oil and gas wells. Public comments on how the agency should manage the private oil and gas industry are being accepted until March 30th! (See below.)

The forest management plan for the Allegheny National Forest was adopted in 2007 but was quickly appealed by conservation groups due to concerns over oil andgas drilling. In 2008, groups led by the Allegheny Defense Project won their appeal. The Chief of the US Forest Service instructed that the agency must:
1. Provide adequate public comment on proposed oil and gas regulations,
2. Clarify the Forest Service’s role in regulating oil and gas development on the Allegheny,
3. Disclose the cumulative effects of oil and gas development on local and regional air quality.

The industry believes this is a part of an effort “intended to strip operators of their rights to develop their oil and gas properties without Forest Service permission.” However, what is both the duty and authority of the US Forest Service is to place reasonable conditions on private companies, for the purpose of safeguarding:
• Exceptional value watersheds,
• Endangered species habitat,
• Forest recreation areas,
• Scenic byways,
• Proposed Wilderness areas.

The Forest Service is now seeking public comment on their Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement ( covering oil and gas management for the Allegheny National Forest. Deadline for the comment period is March 30th.

Comments can be E-mailed to with the subject line “Reserved and Outstanding Oil and Gas Design Criteria SEIS”, or write to:

Forest Plan SEIS
4 Farm Colony Drive
Warren, PA 16365

No comments: