Gov. Wolf to sign order restoring ban on new drilling leases

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Gov. Tom Wolf is poised to sign an executive order restoring a moratorium on new natural-gas drilling leases on Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests.

Wolf’s office says he'll sign the order Thursday at Benjamin Rush State Park in Philadelphia.

It will supersede an order former Gov. Tom Corbett signed in May and restore the ban on new drilling leases that former Gov. Ed Rendell implemented in 2010.

Corbett’s order allowed the negotiation of new leases for gas extraction through horizontal wells drilled from adjacent, private lands or areas previously leased for drilling in state forests.

Environmentalists praised the expected action, but the Marcellus Shale Coalition, a trade group, called it a political move that unnecessarily bans the safe extraction of gas that could provide enormous revenue for the state government.