On May 1, the PA House Democratic Policy Committee held a hearing about permitting Oil & Gas activities in Loyalsock State Forest. The hearing took place at Lycoming College, in Williamsport.
Anandarko Petroleum Corporation holds significant mineral rights beneath Loyalsock. Mary Wolf is a former Williamsport mayor. She is now a Anandarko advisor, and was on hand to ensure the hearing that her employer values Loyalsock. Others who testified seemed not so sure.
The meeting was held, according to The CitizenVoice.com in response to: “several state lawmakers and environmental groups called Tuesday for Gov. Tom Corbett to take a stronger role in protecting the forest.”
“The public has not been able to weigh in as much as they should,” said Rep. Rick Mirabito, D-83, Williamsport told CitizenVoice.
Following are the quotes from the meeting I’ve Tweeted @stevenwtodd. Of particular note – and central to the entire decision to allow Anandarko to drill these pristine public lands – are statements by PA Rep Greg Vitali (D- Delaware) and by PennFuture’s Mark Szybist below. Their statements, conflict directly with DCNR spokeswoman Chris Novak’s statements on this issue, who told NPR’s StateImpact: “In the circumstance where the commonwealth does not own the mineral (subsurface) rights, we are required by law, by some legal decisions, to provide reasonable access to the owner, or to the person who leases those rights.” Vitali and Szybist seem to be backed up here: “the right of the mineral rights owner to access oil and gas from the surface was terminated after 50 years — in 1983.” http://www.bayjournal.com/article/conservationists_fight_to_save_one_of_pas_gem_streams1 and on DCNR’s website – http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/cs/groups/public/documents/document/dcnr_20026829.pdf
“Anandarko will chew the Loyalsock up” ~ Rep Greg Vitali
“I am a lawyer, and there is no right to access.” ~ Rep Greg Vitali.
“Industry has misused God’s God Earth, and the resources there.” ~ Rep Eddie Day Pashinski
“18% of the forest is leased, and currently being developed” ~ Mark Szybist @PennFuture
“Commonwealth has exclusive control since (the 1983) expiration of 50-yr term.” ~ Mark Szybist @PennFuture
“Evidence that a previous (DCNR/Anandarko) agreement may have been reached in principle.” ~ Mark Szybist @PennFuture
“We shouldn’t have to be here today, DCNR should be having this hearing.” ~ Mark Szybist @PennFuture
“I don’t have credentials, but as a PA resident, I feel I am an interested stakeholder.” ~ John Trallo, citizen
“For every dollar invested in PA state forests, we have seen $9.36 returned. Impressive return.” ~ John Trallo, citizen
“we are…selling our furniture to pay rent, with no idea how to pay next month.” ~ John Trallo, citizen
“Been working for months to get public hearing with DCNR, with no response.” ~ Jeff Schmidt @Sierra_Club
“From the beginning ,Gov. Corbett’s DCNR’s tendency to work behind closed doors is chief concern.” ~ Jeff Schmidt @Sierra_Club
“Ridge vs Corbett – both @GOP admins – reaction to public concerns vastly different.” ~ Jeff Schmidt @Sierra_Club
“Frustrated by DCNR’s stonewalling, (we’ve) turned to legislators for open public hearings.” ~ Jeff Schmidt @Sierra_Club
“We have the power to change this, to do whatever we want to do.” ~ Rep Richard Mirabito
“Its not about us, it’s about what the Constitution says we have obligation to do.” ~ Rep Richard Mirabito
“When this is gone, it’s gone, and this is just a desert out there.” ~ Rep Ron Waters