In recent years, the development of natural gas in Pennsylvania’s state forest system has slowed dramatically, according to a report from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
According to State Impact Pennsylvania, the decline in activity is due to low natural gas prices, which have facilitated decreased drilling. That along with a moratorium on new leasing of state land imposed by Governor Tom Wolf.
Nearly half of Pennsylvania’s 2.2 million acres of forest is available for natural gas development through both leases to drilling companies issued by DCNR (386,000 acres) and areas where the state does not own the underground mineral rights. In the DCNR’s first Shale Gas Monitoring Report, published in 2014, DCNR found 1,425 acres of forest had been converted for shale gas infrastructure. The recently released updated information found 334 acres had been converted.