Environment & Energy
11:50 am
Tue April 15, 2014

DCNR Natural Gas Advisory Committee to Discuss Development on State Forest Land

An advisory committee tasked with helping the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources manage natural gas drilling on state land will meet for the third time.

The Natural Gas Advisory Committee (NGAC) will cover two major issues in its April meeting.

“One is a potential additional lease on state forest land which, at least the way it’s been characterized, would be a non-surface disturbance proposal, and the other would be – they’re [DCNR] going to release their monitoring report which will include all the types of monitoring they’ve done over the first two years of the program – gas drilling on state forest land,” said committee Chair James Grace, who is also Penn State’s Goddard Chair in Forestry and Environmental Resources Conservation.

The committee was formed following a recommendation from the Governor’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission report.

“It’s a pretty evenly mixed group with about a third of the people being from industry, a third from environmental group and a third from academic and government,” said Grace.

The group has met twice before; the first was more of a “get to know each other” meeting, according to Grace. More issues were tackled in the second meeting.

“Hopefully this meeting we’re going to get into a little more meat. I suspect it’ll be a vigorous meeting with a lot of interaction,” he said.

Whatever the outcome of the meeting, Grace pointed out the group is strictly advisory in nature and has no regulatory clout.

“But it’s the hope to get an honest discussion of what’s happening with all the major parties represented around the table and hopefully being able to come up and reach some consensus at times of how maybe things could go better,” said Grace.

The NGAC will meet Wednesday in State College.