Rendell’s Meaningless Moratorium

Yesterday, Gov. Rendell announced he would issue a “moratorium” on new gas drilling on state forest land. He must think it is a good political move to appeal to anti-gas activists before an election, because the moratorium has no real effect whatsoever.

1) It’s an executive order, which can be rescinded by the next governor. The next governor, in case you weren’t paying attention, will be elected in exactly one week, and then will take office in three months.

2) Almost all the state forest land that could be leased has already been leased. There is really very little land that both contains gas and is suitable for drilling. According to DCNR, about 700,000 acres of state forest land fit both categories—and after the last rounds of leasing 660,000 acres are already leased for gas production!

In other words without a moratorium, there wouldn’t have been much further leasing anyway.