Sportsmen Alliance for Marcellus Conservation
The Izaak Walton League and the League’s New York and Pennsylvania Divisions have joined other national, regional, and local sportsmen’s groups (including Trout Unlimited) in establishing the Sportsmen Alliance for Marcellus Conservation. The Alliance is focused on ensuring that hunters, anglers, and others who enjoy the outdoors have a voice in the debate about how to balance natural gas drilling that relies on horizontal hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) with other important values, including clean water, healthy habitat, and hunting and angling traditions. For more information about hydraulic fracturing and its impacts, see “Will We Sacrifice Our Water for Gas?” (PDF) in the spring 2010 edition of Outdoor America.
League chapters and members in the Marcellus region – which stretches from western New York through Pennsylvania into Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia – have been actively engaged on this issue for several years. At the League’s 2010 national convention, delegates adopted a resolution that calls on states to implement and strengthen rules governing fracking to improve protections for water resources, fish and wildlife, forests, and public health. The policy recommendations are included in the League’s Conservation Policies handbook (see Chapter 6, Section N, Hydraulic Fracturing) (PDF).
The Sportsmen Alliance for Marcellus Conservation provides an opportunity for people from across the region who hunt, fish, boat, and enjoy other types of outdoor recreation to work together to highlight common concerns and press for policies and regulations governing hydraulic fracturing. The Alliance is forming at a critically important time. Throughout 2011, New York, Pennsylvania, and others states will make decisions about how to plan for and manage dramatic expansion of this type of drilling. The Alliance is pressing states to take steps to safeguard natural resources and outdoor recreation, including regulating water withdrawals from streams and groundwater, requiring water quality monitoring adjacent to well sites, and prohibiting drilling on state lands during opening days of hunting and fishing seasons.