The debate over developing the energy resources that lie beneath state forest land particularly, Lycoming County's Loyalsock State Forest has included assumptions and misconceptions that aren't doing Pennsylvanians who care about our state's future any favors.
As an organization that has built its foundation on advocating for the outdoors and those who enjoy the many recreational benefits they offer, it would be foolish not to recognize the successful history of natural gas development, dating as far back as 1947, on our state forest land. These lands have, in fact, always been intended for mineral resource development, in addition to scenic beauty and recreational opportunities.
Through Gov. Corbett's plan to develop the Marcellus Shale under these lands, all three of these benefits - and more - will not only coexist, but they will thrive. The leases would yield about $95 million dollars for the commonwealth.
That money, along with future royalties, would go a long way in making needed improvements to our state forests and parks and ensuring that they are maintained and revitalized for future generations of outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy.
The governor's sensible plan for developing this land is protective of the environment.
The state's strict regulations and this industry's proven track record will further ensure the development is done properly.
Many of the tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians who are working in the shale industry are outdoor enthusiasts themselves. They live and raise their families in our communities, and they care about the many benefits of our state forests and parks.
The fact that Lycoming County's own Rep. Rick Mirabito has proposed legislation to stifle this development demonstrates how out-of-touch with his constituents he is.
Responsible shale development has done wonders for this area's economy, and there is more opportunity on the horizon.
Taking into account the successful history of energy development in our state forests and the promising benefits available to future generations of Pennsylvanians, Rep. Mirabito and anyone else who opposes such progress would be wise to get on board.
Chairman of the Board, Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania