2009-09-17 / Local & State

Pa. Budget Deal Called Bad For Forests, Parks

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Environmental advocates say budget cuts and an expansion of leasing land for gas drilling in Pennsylvania's state forests could severely damage the recreational lands.

The advocates gathered Monday in the Capitol Rotunda to highlight the importance of public lands and to try to change legislators' minds about proposed cuts in funding for state parks and forests. The environmental advocates say enacting a tax on gas extraction from private and public lands is a better idea to raise money than allowing more drilling in state forestts.

Legislators searching for ways to wipe out a multibillion-dollar shortfall in tax collections have proposed expanded leasing of state forest land for gas drilling.

They say companies leasing land on which to drill could generate $100 million.

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