Website Details Gas Drilling Impact On State Forest Land

From Potter County Today

A wealth of information on the impact of Marcellus Shale gas production on state forest land has now been posted on the Pa. Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources website. Nathan Bennett, a senior geologist with DCNR, and Susquehannock District Forester Chris Nicholas discussed some of the consequences of opening more forest land to drilling as guest speakers at this month’s Potter County Natural Gas Task Force meeting. Bennett referred to pending updates on the website that have now gone live, providing citizens with a wealth of information to more thoroughly comprehend what is coming.

Mineral rights on roughly half of the 262,000 acres of the Susquehannock State Forest land – most of it in Potter County — are privately owned and available for gas drilling at the owners’ discretion. Additionally, DCNR has leased thousands of its wholly owned acres to energy companies to generate revenue for the state’s general fund.

The accompanying map of the state’s northwest quadrant shows, in red, the tracts that the state leased to energy companies earlier this year, including two properties (upper right) in Potter County. Seneca Resources of Houston, Texas, was high bidder on 7,440 acres between Denton Hill and Fox Hill, offering $23.3 million for the first year. Penn Virginia Corp. submitted the high bid of $13.9 million for the first year on 3,640 acres in Eulalia and Roulette townships, north and west of Coudersport. The state will also receive 18 percent of production royalties.

DCNR anticipates that several hundred gas wells are coming on state forest land over the next decade, a large percentage of them in Potter County. The increased drilling will have an impact on other forest users for decades to come.

To provide citizens with additional information, DCNR has posted information on its website here.

More information on Marcellus Shale/natural gas issues is also available on the Potter County website at pottercountypa.net.

Article courtesy of the Potter County Commissioners.


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