32,000 Pa. forest acres opened to gas drilling

Posted: November 11, 2009

Pennsylvania is opening nearly 32,000 acres of additional state forest land to leasing by natural-gas drilling companies. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) says the six tracts are in Cameron, Clearfield, Clinton, Potter, and Tioga Counties.

Acting DCNR Secretary John Quigley said on Monday that the acreage was picked after extensive environmental reviews and represents a sliver of the 2.1 million acres of forest owned by the state.

The plan to lease more land to drillers is part of the state's formula for balancing its budget. The lease sale requires minimum bids of $2,000 per acre, with a goal of raising more than $60 million. Prospective bidders have until Jan. 12 to submit sealed bids for the 10-year leases. The bids will be opened that day. Currently, there are 750 wells on 660,000 acres of state forest leased for gas drilling. - AP

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