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May 23, 2014

Governor Corbett's Memorial Day gift to the fracking industry

Don't frack paThis Memorial Day weekend, thousands of Pennsylvanians (and folks from around the country) will be out enjoying themselves on some of our state's 2.2 million acres of public forests and parks. Yet Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has just issued an executive order that paves the way to expanding fracking in those same state forests and parks. It is a shockingly shortsighted and dangerous move.

The governor, in an Orwellian stroke, has portrayed this order as offering some kind of protection for state forests and parks. In fact, it's a Memorial Day gift to the fracking industry. This is not, as some have reported, a kind of new moratorium on drilling; the order will actually expand fracking in and around our state forests and parks. Thousands of acres of public lands are at risk of being industrialized, including critically important headwaters, forests, and landscapes.

This move is a mistake for the governor and a disaster for the forests.

Pennsylvania's forested landscapes provide critical habitat for wildlife and offer important recreational opportunities for millions of people yearly. They are an economic driver for the state of Pennsylvania. These landscapes are essential to the character and biodiversity of Pennsylvania, and they are the rightful heritage of generations of future Pennsylvanians. But here we are, the day before a holiday weekend, and Governor Corbett wants to sell these public lands to the highest bidders.

That is not executive leadership. Rather, today's action by the governor is wildly irresponsible and a blow to countless generations of future Pennsylvanians who might otherwise one day enjoy these public lands. On June 17, the Sierra Club, along with our allies, will be rallying at noon at the Capitol steps in Harrisburg to tell Governor Corbett that we don't accept his plan. We'd love to see you cast a vote with your feet and join us.

-- Robert Gardner, campaign representative, Beyond Natural Gas, Pennsylvania

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