Gov. Rendell Halts More Leasing of State Forests for Drilling

Since both of Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell's plans for controlling natural gas drilling didn't materialize this year, he took one matter into his own hands and halted the leasing of state forests for drilling. The Allegheny Front's Ryan Delaney reports on reactions to the move.

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OPEN: Since both of Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell's plans for controlling natural gas drilling didn't materialize this year, he took one matter into his own hands and halted the leasing of state forests for drilling. The Allegheny Front's Ryan Delaney reports on reactions to the move.

DELANEY: Governor Rendell made good on a pledge Tuesday to halt the leasing of more state land for drilling since the legislature didn't make progress on its own. The Governor's ban, which will last at least through the end of the year, will protect the remainder of the state's $6 billion forest industry.

Environmental groups are supporting the action. Josh McNeil of the Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania says the ban will have real ramifications on the ground.

MCNEIL: It does create a situation where candidates for office across the state are likely to be asked to comment about it, so, politically it has helped to raise the issue, helped to force candidates to define themselves.

DELANEY: The Governor's moratorium has no effect on land already leased by the state or drilling on private land and it could be overturned when a new governor takes office next year.

Rendell has asked the state Senate to again take up the issue of a severance tax in November, but that is not likely to happen.

For the Allegheny Front, I'm Ryan Delaney.