March 23, 2013
February 19, 2013
I just received notification of a March public meeting in Truxton to discuss the Draft Unit Management Plan for Taylor Valley. I think it will be important to flood that meeting with concerned citizens from the area.
The following action by the DEC is proposed in the January 2013 Draft Taylor Valley Unit Management Plan (http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/regions_pdf/tayvy1.pdf ). Is the DEC anticipating a reversal of the decision not to allow surface activity associated with drilling in our state forests? The final paragraph of page 60 says the following:
“This prohibition is subject to change if the Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Statements regarding Well Permit Issuance for Horizontal Drilling and High-Volume Fracturing to Develop the Marcellus Shale and Other Low-Permeability Gas Reservoirs is amended during finalization processes.”
Here’s a more extended quote from the Draft Unit Management Plan:
b. Consider future requests for oil and gas leasing using an open public process while protecting natural and recreational resources. Prior to leasing lands in this Unit, an open public process must be followed. This process includes coordination with the Division of Mineral Resources to determine: areas that can be leased with full rights granted (100% surface entry and no special conditions required); areas that may require special environmental and safety conditions; and areas that may be leased with no surface-disturbance/entry conditions (non-drilling clause). The following is a summary of the leasing process of State Forest lands:
Receive requests to nominate specific lands within the Unit for leasing of mineral rights, from interested parties.
Conduct tract assessments of nominated properties to determine where lands are able to support or accommodate related surface disturbance associated with oil and gas exploration, development, and extraction. Factors considered during the tract assessment process include the proximity to sensitive resources of the Unit. These resources include, but are not limited to certain management strategies, wetland, riparian zones, steep slopes, recreational trails and areas, unique ecological communities, habitat of rare and endangered species, archeological and cultural sites and scenic vistas and view sheds.
o Apply a hierarchical approach that classifies areas of each State Forest into four categories as part of a tract assessment to be conducted prior to leasing.
§ Category A ‐ Compatible with well pad, road, and utility development. These areas can be considered the least sensitive to surface disturbance and should be considered first for well pad development to limit the overall impact of development. Examples of Category A areas include open fields, conifer plantations, and even-aged management areas.
§ Category B ‐ Uneven-age Management Areas with one well pad per State Forest. These areas are being managed for species that require large blocks of un-fragmented (diameters of temporary openings in the canopy shall be no larger than 2.5 times the height of surrounding trees) forests.
§ Category C ‐ 250-foot stream and designated recreational trail buffers. Not compatible with well pad development; may be compatible with road and utility development.
§ Category D – Infrastructure Exclusion areas. Not compatible with well pad, road, or utility development. These include: ponds, wetlands, spring seeps, and vernal pools with appropriate 250-foot buffers; slopes greater than 15 percent; archeological and cultural concerns; and areas being managed as Natural Areas.
o Prohibit surface disturbance associated with high-volume hydraulic fracturing. This prohibition is subject to change if the Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Statements regarding Well Permit Issuance for Horizontal Drilling and High-Volume Fracturing to Develop the Marcellus Shale and Other Low-Permeability Gas Reservoirs is amended during finalization processes.
Is it a coincidence that there has been heavy logging in the state forest next to my home for the past two summers? Well-pad sized sections have been clear-cut or significantly thinned in Kennedy State Forest, and pipeline-width corridors have been cleared of debris. It could be coincidence, but this logging activity was well ahead of scheduled logging in the management plan for Kennedy State Forest (according to conversations I had with the forester). The clearing areas are congruent with the Department’s 2008(?) published maps of “Areas compatible with drilling. ” Now the Draft Unit Management Plan for Taylor Valley shows that the DEC is planning for a possible reversal of the prohibition against surface activity associated with hvhf. Has the DEC planned to allow drilling in the state forests all along -despite claims to the contrary in the revised SGEIS?
July 17, 2012
Marcellus Shale: Electronic Field Guide
The development of Marcellus Shale natural gas resources presents Pennsylvania’s landscapes and citizens with many opportunities and challenges. This guide is meant to help in forging ahead with the best possible options for Pennsylvania’s future. In this guide, you will find options for assistance in land management at all stages of infrastructure development. The guide does not take sides on the issue of Marcellus exploration and encompasses advice for all parties involved. Only by working together will we ensure that Pennsylvania’s future is strong and its wildlands and wildlife are protected as best as possible.
This guide can be used in multiple ways. The guide’s sections are reflective of the most frequent questions asked by landowners and managers, and gas industry employees. A reader using the guide can access information from any level using the menu on the left, or via the directory trail across the top of the page. The guide is also accessible from “Smart Phones” and similar devices.
July 17, 2012
Scientists Study Impact of Shale Gas
Development on Pennsylvania’s Forests by Madeline Fisher