Rendell backs halt to gas leasing of Pa. forests

MARC LEVY Associated Press Writer

HARRISBURG — Gov. Ed Rendell says the cash-strapped state government is leasing more public forest land to a company that wants to drill for natural gas in the vast Marcellus Shale reserve.

As a result, Rendell said Tuesday he will support legislation to temporarily halt additional leasing of state forest land for gas drilling.

Rendell says Houston-based Anadarko Petroleum Corp. has agreed to pay Pennsylvania $120 million for the right to drill on 33,000 acres in northcentral Pennsylvania.

The company owns the rights to surrounding tracts. The additional land is considered “disturbed” because it has been leased for shallow gas drilling in previous decades, although no drilling is actively occurring.

Still, a bill to halt new leasing of state forest land for drilling appears unlikely to pass the Senate.

Copyright: Times Leader