Notice: I've taken a part-time job, and it's definitely affecting my blogging time. I'll continue to add content here as often as possible. Pertinent guest posts are always welcome.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Continuing Mineral Extraction Controversy in the Allegheny National Forest

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Allegheny National Forest Hills in autumn (photo by jhy)

based on news articles in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: In Rebuttal / Two different standards and Stand up for states' rights

The problems of mineral and timber extraction in the Allegheny National Forest of Pennsylvania are an old and bitter news item. For the issues of oil and gas drilling the problem is intensified by the fact that the Forest does not own the sub-surface rights. Thus, the government has no legal right to prevent the industry from taking what is legally theirs.

Problems arise, however, due to the fact that oil wells, tanks, roads and pipelines have to be built on the surface in order to extract the minerals. This infrastructure does intrude on the landscape that belongs to the National Forest. Many law suits over these issues have been brought over the years. With the recent hoopla about the potential for the development of the Marcellus Shale, and hydrofracturing processes, the issue is hot once again.

Because there are nearly 100 miles of North Country Trail within the Allegheny National Forest, the trail is often impacted.

The legal issues surrounding the Allegheny battles are much more complex than recreation vs industry. Two-century-old laws concerning the acquisition and uses of federal land come into play. Recently the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Allegheny National Forest has almost no authority to permit (or not) the surface infrastructure needed to extract sub-surface minerals.

Those who feel that the modern recreational uses of National Forests is paramount in importance are outraged.

The battle goes on. Meanwhile, be prepared to see plenty of oil and gas rigs in Pennsylvania and Ohio along the trail.

This segment is on NCTA map PA-01

See Allegheny National Forest Chapter of the NCTA


K. W. Klos said...

You can not believe the controvesy around the oil and gas people versus the Nat'l Forest people. The oil consortium has a law suit against the FS because it takes so long to gat a Notice To Proceed ( NTP ), but, the oil drillers don't give all the information needed. One strange development is, in Pa. Gas is not a sub-surface mineral unless it is specifically noted in the contract or deed. A family in the Pocono's is fighting this right now. Gotta watch this one.

Sharkbytes said...

Keith- You are much closer to this than I am. If you ever feel like writing a guest post, let me know.