I haven’t seen one yet, but I hear that the buntings are back. One of my master’s buddies is a bird afficionado, and he’s heard them at his house already this summer. As every dog’s nemesis, Martha Stewart, would say, “It’s a good thing.”
Who knows for how long the buntings will keep returning to northeastern PA. They prefer historically untouched, low-profile places where there is little activity… and that just doesn’t describe the direction in which PA is headed. It’s safe to say that not much here in PA will be left untouched in future years. Consider the following quote:
“The state does not own mineral rights for 80% of State Park and State Game Lands, nearly 700,000 acres of State Forests have already been leased, and only about 300,000 acres of the remaining State Forest Lands are legally off-limits to future leases. Projections indicate between 900 and 2,200 well pads could be developed across all state lands, with most going on State Forest Lands, followed by State Game Lands, and State Parks.” You can find the full report of the PA Energy Impacts Assessment at http://www.nature.org/media/pa/tnc_energy_analysis.pdf.
The assessment talks more specifically about how many of PA’s threatened and endangered species just happen to be located in areas where Marcellus drilling is predicted to be the greatest. Have you ever seen a green salamander? Probably not. They’re quite rare. They’re going to be even more rare in the future, as all of their known locations are located in areas that are going to be highly impacted by Marcellus drilling.
It’s not a good thing, Ms. Stewart. It’s a downright bad thing. And yet there are so many state and federal officials who are so ignorant that they continue to say that Marcellus drilling is a good thing– in spite of hard evidence to the contrary, they continue to say that Marcellus operations do not have an effect on our other natural resources.