Yesterday evening, the Associated Press reported that Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order banning fracking in Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests. Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests have been treated like a political football over the past three gubernatorial administrations.
When Pennsylvania’s fracking boom was taking off, Governor Ed Rendell implemented the original ban on fracking in the state’s parks and forests. That ban only lasted for three years when Governor Corbett rescinded the ban as a way to raise revenues in his final budget. And now with Governor Wolf’s, the ban is back in place. Big green groups such as PennEnvironment applauded the decision, and the Marcellus Shale Coalition, the group lobbying on behalf of the fracking industry, cued their collective outrage by releasing a statement that read “this deeply misguided and purely political action to unnecessarily ban the safe and tightly-regulated development of natural gas from beneath taxpayer-owned lands flies in the face of common sense.”
Pennsylvanians Against Fracking thanked Governor Wolf for protecting the state’s natural wonders. In a statement, the organization has again pushed for a statewide ban on fracking, and Jenny Lisak, of Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air, a member of the Pennsylvanians Against Fracking steering committee said “keeping fracking out of state parks is welcomed news, but I am fearful that the negative impacts of this process will be concentrated in communities already being harmed. We must stop fracking around the state.”
Pennsylvanians Against Fracking pointed out that New York state decided to ban fracking in its Southern Tier because of the health issues and groundwater contamination that have happened in Pennsylvania and that there are over 400 peer-reviewed studies point to that. Last October, the AP reported that during the fracking boom there were hundreds of complaints about water contamination and 243 confirmed reports of groundwater contamination.