Report: Pennsylvania Forests Impacted By Drilling

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS re...

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS report showing extent of Marcellus Formation shale (in gray shading). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A small portion of Pennsylvania state forest land has been impacted by shale gas drilling, but many questions remain about how to manage the politically sensitive issue that is opposed by many residents, according to a new report.

The 268-page Department of Conservation and Natural Resources report issued this week concluded that “shale-gas production on state forest lands is neither benign nor catastrophic” and that there are clearly impacts and trade-offs.

“The question is what trade-offs are acceptable,” the report said.

The report found that about 1,486 acres of forest have been converted to various types of drilling-related development since 2008, including roads, well pads, and pipelines, out of about 2.2 million acres in the state forest system. That gas development resulted in 191 infrastructure pads and 104 miles of pipelines.

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Pottstown Regional Planners Offer Park Improvement Grants

A mini-grant program for park improvements in the eight municipalities that comprise the Pottstown Metropolitan Regional Planning Committee is now accepting applications.

Eight grants of up to $25,000 each will be awarded to towns which participate in the regional planning effort to help fund park improvements that promote recreation.

Funding for the grants comes from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and is being facilitated by the PottstownArea Health and Wellness Foundation.

At this point, the “Request-for-Proposals” phase, the regional planning committee and the foundation are inviting the region’s eight member municipalities to apply for funding for the planning or development of park improvements.

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Fountain At Point State Park To Resume June 7

The fountain in Pittsburgh’s Point State Park, which has been shut off since April 2009, will resume operation in a ceremony set for June 7.

The announcement was made today in a statement released by the Riverlife organization, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

“The transformation of Point State Park is almost complete, and with the reconstructed fountain it will once again be a jewel in our award-winning state park system,” said DCNR secretary Richard J. Allan in a statement.  “After hard work and collaboration across the region, we’re happy to celebrate this major reconstruction with a public event that will showcase the renovations and the park in a stunning waterfront gathering spot.”

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Untapped Resource: Natural Gas In Berks

A local role in the state’s natural gas drilling boom isn’t quite as far-fetched as it was a month ago, now that a federal report has identified some potential for an untapped supply beneath southern Berks County.

The natural gas in question is contained in the South Newark Basin. Its western tip lies under a triangular wedge of Berks that includes Douglassville, Birdsboro and Exeter Township, according to the report issued in June by the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS estimated that 785 billion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas could be in the basin.

But several factors make drilling in Berks appear to be a long shot.

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