Monday, May 10, 2010

Gas Leases Saving Farms in PA

There was an interesting article in the Scranton (PA) Times-Tribune today about the positive impacts of natural gas lease bonuses on family farms. The debate over the environmental impacts of shale gas drilling in the Northeast has been extremely contentious (just look at the comments following the article for evidence), but one point that has been lost in the noise is the fact that many of the landowners receiving lease bonuses are farmers who are struggling economically.

The article does a nice job of pointing out that lease bonuses and future royalties are subsidizing the tradition of family farms.  More than a quaint way of life, these farms preserve the rural quality and history of the region.  The preservation of these farms as rural land prevents suburban sprawl because land owners are not forced to sell when times get tough. Now they have a positive incentive to keep their land. 

There are legitimate environmental fears where it comes to drilling, but preserving rural land and promoting the family farm should not be forgotten as very positive environmental impacts.

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