The Marcellus Shale boom is affecting anglers and boaters state wide, and they may not realize it. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is responsible for all fish, reptiles and amphibians in the Commonwealth.
Tim Schaeffer, Director of the Bureau of Policy, Planning and Communication says by the end of the summer, they had reviewed five times more permits this year for waterways encroachment than all of last year. He says they do all of that with fishing license dollars and get no general fund money or portion of the permit fees that the Department of Environmental Protection receives.
Commission staff must also review water withdrawal applications to make sure aquatic life is protected. Schaeffer nearly 25% of the “Species of Special Concern” reviews they do each year are attributed to Marcellus. He says permits for access roads and pipelines, everything that comes into DEP and crosses a stream, must be reviewed.
Schaeffer says waterways conservation officers have the authority to enforce environmental laws. He says they’re often the first ones out there who see an erosion or sediment issue and can work proactively with the companies on changes that need to be made.
Schaeffer says the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission report itself identifies the impacts of the Marcellus Shale boom that are appropriate for compensation, listing state natural resource agency oversight, permit review and enforcement. He says they’re one of those state natural resources agencies and they think it’s unfair to have boaters and anglers bear the burden.