Friday, October 14, 2011

Do The People Own Mineral Rights Under Public Lands? Some Key Facts

Depending on what kind of public land--forests, parks, game lands--the People of Pennsylvania own greatly varying percentages of the minerals under the public lands.

For example, the Game Commission owns the mineral rights for about 49% of game lands but just 20% of the mineral rights under parks are owned by the people. 

80% of the mineral rights under state forests are owned by the public but just 8% of the mineral rights in the Allegheny National Forest are owned by the federal government.

Managing the surface lands and the mineral rights that are split is a key to getting right the Marcellus.  Drilling in any state park and further leasing of the state forests for drilling are rightly strongly opposed by Pennsylvanians.


  1. Mr. Hanger,

    What do you think of PennFuture's campaign? Think it's aggressive enough? Is the 300' setback/buffer is sufficient? We have a 500' no drill zone surrounding Indiana County's parks. Are there any specific extra regulations you'd like to see in the zones surrounding parks regarding noise/light/dust pollution controls? Do you think DEP or counties/townships have the authority to dictate which routes gas drilling truck traffic takes on roads (e.g. stopping trucks from using state or township roads that are scenic, where traffic would degrade the serenity of the park)?

    Sorry for all the questions, but we are getting down to the nitty gritty on amending this ordinance out in Indiana County.



  2. All great questions. There are so many private landowners who want drilling that drilling in state parks doubly makes no sense. I do support smart means of protecting state parks. I would hope that a drilling company would work with local government on traffic issues and routes.

  3. Thank you for sharing this, John. =) In the end, every landowner and drilling company should have

    enough knowledge to the law regarding mineral and land rights in order to execute any leasing or

    drilling process safely and successfully.