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Allegheny Forest Drilling Ban Overturned by U.S. Court

by Kenneth E. DuBose on September 23, 2011

A U.S. appeals court that has thrown out a ban on drilling in the Allegheny National Forest brought by the National Forest Service. The decision will allow for additional Marcellus Shale drilling in Pennsylvania.

A U.S. appeals court has thrown out a ban on drilling in the Allegheny National Forest in western Pennsylvania, concluding that the government only controls surface rights, not the mineral rights below.

The mineral rights are privately owned, and those owners should enjoy reasonable access to the surface to drill for oil and gas below, the three-judge panel in Philadelphia ruled.

Tuesday’s ruling is a setback for the National Forest Service, which — under pressure from the Sierra Club and other environmental groups — decided not to issue permits until an environmental impact study of the entire forest could be completed. Before 2009, drilling permits had been routinely issued in a “cooperative process” with owners, after they gave 60 days’ notice.

Read the full news release at

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