Brave new world

As citizens of the state of Pennsylvania, it is important that we make our decisions based upon real-time information in regards to the fate of our state forests. Currently under developmental planning are areas of the Loyal Sock State Forest, the Tiadaghton area more specifically. This includes lands in Bodine and Cascade, running the length of Potash Mountain, spanning Pleasant Stream, and finishing along the span of Sullivan Mountain. This swath of State Forest was part of the Clarence More tract, now known for being a “split estate”. This means mineral rights went to Anadarko Petroleum Corp. , and International Development Corp. (which has yet to stake claim), and the surface rights went to the state of Pennsylvania. All of this is old news of old deals, what matters is what that translates to now.

In plan for this forest are between twenty and thirty fracking and gas extraction pads. Each of which is between four to five hundred feet Square. [So that’s an average of (450ft 450ft) 202,500 square feet, in an average of 25 sites (202,500 25) or 5,062,500 square feet forested for pads alone.] These pads require an infrastructure of compressor stations and detention ponds. Conservatively, one compressor station to every five gas pads gives us five such clearings of equivalent size. [ (1,012,500 sq ft + 5,062,500 sq ft) That’s 6,075,000 sq ft cleared so far.] The detention ponds, though fewer in number, are vastly larger in area than the pads.

Then there are the ties that bind. This vast array will be interconnected by road ways which will run the entire length and width of the aforementioned state forest land. Based on previous sites, and current ground markings, these roads will be an average of 40 to 50 feet wide. A considerable amount of these roads will also have a pipeline running along next to it adding another 30 feet of clear cut. To put this in perspective, a freeway lane is 12 feet wide.

If you are trying to visualize yourself driving this expanse of pavement, viewing the industrial complex wrapped in state forest, remember you will be riding within a fleet of big rig trucks. As you go, you will encounter guard shacks at every fork and branch in the road. There you will find security guards who will tell you which roads you can use and when because the trucks have the right of way in your state land. You will already find this happening on the fringes of the forest.

These are the plans on the table right now for the Tiadaghton Forest. Whatever the fate of this pristine forest, we must ensure that the same fate does not befall our forest lands to which there is no claim or right.

John Savadge


Submitted by Virtual Newsroom