Keep these lands wild

I attended the DCNR meeting June 3 at Lycoming College. I endured a poorly planned and even more poorly managed meeting for over three hours but was denied the opportunity to present any comment on the protection of the Clarence Moore tracts of the Loyalsock State Forest, public lands having incredible natural, scenic and recreational value.

While I was pleased DCNR finally agreed to hold a public meeting, I was disappointed that less than two weeks’ advance notice was provided, that such a short amount of time was allotted for this important issue, and that it was held on a Monday at 4 p.m. when a lot of people are still at work.

Some people might get the impression Secretary Allen did not really want citizen input, the position he clearly took during the closed door, invitation-only meeting near Laporte two months ago when he stated there would be no public hearing. The gas development on the Clarence Moore tracts involves multi-millions of dollars in business for the gas industry. It is obvious DCNR knows how important public participation can be, especially when a proposal or project may be controversial, but somehow deems itself beyond review or reproach where gas development is involved.

This is incredible arrogance and shows a complete disdain for the opinion of all Pennsylvanians!

Ms. Arianne Proctor did a fine job explaining what DCNR has done thus far to examine the proposal by Anadarko to drill on State Forest Lands.

She supplemented the slide show she used at the invitation-only meeting with some improved and more specific data, but it was not the complete picture. Anadarko is only one of the two gas companies with rights to the gas under the Loyalsock State Forest.

If DCNR persists in its obvious intent to allow gas development in the Loyalsock State Forest, we should all insist that DCNR make its proposed deal with all of the gas industry available to the public and solicit comments from the citizens of this Commonwealth consistent with legitimate public participation policies.

The effective input of the public cannot begin until details of the complete proposed agreement are known, adequate time is made available to review that proposal, and a public hearing is announced at least 30 days prior to a hearing held at a time convenient for the majority of people that have a stake in the future of the Loyalsock State Forest.

DCNR must hold a true public hearing on the complete proposal and obtain comments prior to making any decision on gas well development on the Clarence Moore tracts. The citizens of Pennsylvania deserve nothing less. I urge everyone with a desire to protect these public lands to write to both DCNR and our state legislators expressing that concern. We must keep these lands wild!

Dan Alters


Submitted by Virtual Newsroom