About that drilling moratorium

We've been remiss not to mention Governor Rendell's "moratorium" on leasing additional state forest land for gas drilling. We put that word in quotes for a couple of reasons. First, as the DN pointed out in an editorial earlier this week, this drilling is well under way:

That moratorium is like closing the barn door after the horses have escaped, carrying many of our valuables away with them: The fact is, 700,000 acres of state forest land is already leased for drilling. That represents more than a third of the entire 2.2 million acres in the state.


So much for an industry in its "infancy" that Republicans in the Senate have wanted to protect by failing to impose a gas-extraction tax.

Second, as Isaiah Thompson observes in his "Fracktrack" feature:

Rendell's power to enforce this executive order ends the moment he ceases to be an executive – I think we've got about 80 days.

This is, as the DN points out, better than nothing, especially given the state's failure to pass an extraction tax to pay for much-needed environmental oversight. But depending on the next governor and state legislature, it might not turn out to be that much better than nothing.

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