Deal puts on hold new gas leases on Pa. state land

OIL-DRILLING-GAS-PA-PENNSYLVANIA

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – The Corbett administration and an environmental group are striking a deal to prevent a loss of funding for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources while the group’s lawsuit challenging gas drilling in state park and forest land goes forward.

The Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation and Gov. Tom Corbett announced Friday that the foundation would back off its request for an injunction to stop new leases and the administration agreed to not sign lease.

The deal is designed to keep in place some $120 million in drilling-generated funding for the state parks agency while litigation continues in Commonwealth Court. New leases were being counted on to generate another $95 million, but the state won’t enter into them until the case is resolved.

The agreement mean park operations will continue.

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