(HARRISBURG, Pa.) -- Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell signed an executive order Tuesday that will protect the state's forests from any new natural gas development.
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources recently evaluated the state forest system over a seven-month period and found that additional drilling could "endanger the environmental quality" of Pennsylvania's forests and "pose a risk to Pennsylvania's existing certification that it manages its forests in a sustainable manner."
"Drilling companies' rush to grab private lands across the state have left few areas untouched by this widespread industrial activity," Governor Rendell said. "We need to protect our un-leased public lands from this rush because they are the most significant tracts of undisturbed forest remaining in the state. The House led the way to protect these lands, but the Senate failed to do so. That's why it's so clear we need this executive order."
Rendell also said that preservation of the state's forest system was important to the state's economy. Pennsylvania tourism relies heavily on state forests for recreation, and the lumber industry "needs the assurance of knowing [state officials] are going to responsibly manages these resources to protect jobs in that industry," the governor said.
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