August 30, 2012 —
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett completed a two-day kayak tour on the Delaware River through Wayne, Pike and Monroe counties last week. Among his entourage were PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Richard Allen and Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer.
Also joining the governor were numerous citizen protestors who made their concerns about natural gas development known. Some arrived before 8 a.m. to greet Corbett as he launched near the Narrowsburg, NY bridge. Others assembled at various sites along the riverbank, holding signs and chanting slogans like, “God gave us this river for drinking and pleasure. Don’t destroy our national treasure.” Still others paddled along with the governor and his crew, signs affixed to their watercraft demanding that the Delaware River be protected from hydrofracking.
Many of the protestors charged that the governor and his administration support the interests of the gas industry and leaseholders, while neglecting the interests of citizens who want their water, air, home values and quality of life protected from the impacts of natural gas extraction.
Corbett defended his environmental record. “If you take a look at many of the areas where shale gas is being developed now, the vast majority of people are seeing the benefit. I think we have done a very good job of coming up with the strictest standards, protecting the environment while getting to a natural resource that makes us the energy leader of the country, if not the world.”
Corbett also visited the Zane Grey Museum in Lackawaxen and the Masker Museum in Promised Land State Park, where he heard about the economics of the timber and tourism industries.
Corbett said that the tours are invaluable opportunities to connect with a region.
“What I was hearing was an educational process for me. I have a much better understanding of the needs of the area, so that decisions can be made in trying to reach a balance between the different interests. Clearly those interests were made vocal today in many ways, that people see things differently and we have to reach some common ground.”
Corbett urged everyone to get on the river and to make use of the state’s 120 parks. “Pennsylvania is blessed with unmatched natural beauty and resources,” Corbett said. “Not only is it vital that we take care of these resources for the growth of our commonwealth, but equally as vital is the need to preserve these resources for future generations. I want my grandchildren to enjoy the same breath-taking Pennsylvania that I had the privilege to kayak today.”