Board Approves Acqusition Of More Than 975 Acres; Oil And Gas Development Agreements To Benefit Wildlife
HARRISBURG, Pa., June 26, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today approved six contracts that will add nearly 975 acres of land to several State Game Lands (SGLs), which presently encompasses more than 1.4 million acres.
In Fayette County, the Board approved the purchase of 113 acres in Connellsville Township, adjoining SGL 51, for $127,000 from Bonnie K. Czirban and Debbie L. Mostel. The property fills an indenture in SGL 51 where it is bordered on the south and east by SGL 51 and on the west by the Youghiogheny River. The property is forested with mixed northern hardwoods and lies within an Important Mammal Area, which supports the existence of both state and federally listed species. The property will be purchased with funds from third party commitments for compensation of habitat and recreational losses which occurred on State Game Lands from previously approved projects and may also be funded by habitat mitigation commitments for impacts to state and federally-listed species.
In Clearfield County, the Board approved the purchase of 650 acres in Penn Township, adjacent to SGL 87, from Aquillas J. and Sallie A. Peachey for $485,000, which will be paid with funds from third party commitments for compensation of habitat and recreational losses which occurred on SGLs from previously approved projects. The majority of the property is forested with mixed hardwoods and has an 80-acre reclaimed surface mine covered with grassland and regenerating trees seedlings. Poplar Run and unnamed tributaries flow through the property. Many spring seeps are located on the hillsides and small riparian wetlands are associated with Poplar Run. The Peacheys are reserving the rights to all timber 13 inches or greater until Nov. 11, 2026, not to include any hickory and conifer trees, except for larch. All reclamation, seeding and infrastructure development supporting timber operations will be in coordination with the Game Commission. The agency hopes to have settlement completed no later than Sept. 1, to enable hunters to have access to this parcel before this fall's hunting seasons.
In Carbon and Monroe counties, the Board approved the purchase of about 165 acres in Kidder Township, Carbon County, and Tunkhannock Township, Monroe County, adjoining SGL 129, from Yamulla Trucking & Excavating Company, Inc., for $1,100 per acre pending a final survey, which will be paid with funds from third party commitments for compensation of habitat and recreational losses which occurred on SGLs from previously approved projects. The property is predominately hemlock with mixed oaks transitioning to northern hardwoods on the east side. A 25-acre wetland is on the property, as well as a small tributary to Tunkhannock Creek which bisects the property. Route 903 runs along the northern boundary and will provide access into this portion of SGL 129.
In Luzerne County, the Board approved the purchase of 8.35 acres in Hanover Township and Ashley Borough, Luzerne County, adjacent to SGL 207, from the Earth Conservancy for $4,800, which will be paid with funds from third party commitments for compensation of habitat and recreational losses which occurred on SGLs from previously approved projects. The option reserves all coal, oil, gas and other minerals, but does not include uranium or any other radioactive minerals. Earth Conservancy will not enter into any sale or lease for the removal of coal, oil, gas or other minerals through the surface without written consent of the Game Commission. Under the deed, the coal, oil, gas and other minerals will revert to the Game Commission after Jan. 1, 2032, with 50 percent of any future revenue received by the agency being allocated for Earth Conservancy. The property has been timbered resulting in early successional forested habitat.
In Lehigh and Northampton counties, the Board approved the purchase of seven tracts totaling 32.43 acres close to SGLs 168 and 217, from Wildlands Conservancy for $28,000, which will be paid with funds from third party commitments for compensation of habitat and recreational losses which occurred on SGLs from previously approved projects. Each tract is between one and nine acres, with the largest being a tract of 9.11 acres next to SGL 168. Each of these wooded tracts was acquired by Wildlands Conservancy with the intent to transfer them to the Game Commission.
In Cambria County, the Board approved an exchange with Peoples Natural Gas Company, LLC, involving SGLs 42 and 79 in Cambria County. Under the exchange, the Game Commission will receive 10 acres in Jackson Township, which is an indenture on SGL 79, and has a one-acre clearing from a plugged well site surrounded by an early succcessional forest. In exchange, the Game Commission will issue a License For Right‑of‑Way, without fee, for the privilege of constructing, operating, and maintaining a "pig launcher" on SGL 42 in Lower Yoder Township, on a site about 100 feet by 30 feet, along with the use of about 15 feet by 16,300 feet of existing administrative road in Cambria, Somerset and Westmoreland counties to access the site. A pig launcher is a funnel-shaped "Y" section in a pipeline that extends above the ground and allows for a "pig," or maintenance/inspection device, to enter the pipeline without stopping the flow of product in the pipeline.
OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENTS TO BENEFIT WILDLIFE
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today approved three oil and gas development agreements that will provide much-needed revenue for the Game Commission to either deposit into the Game Fund or an interest-bearing escrow account for the future purchase of wildlife habitats, lands or other uses incidental to hunting, furtaking and wildlife resource management.
The first item, which is an amendment to a previous oil and gas agreement involving a 1,930-acre portion of State Game Land (SGL) 268 in Morris Township, Tioga County, allows Endless Mountain Energy to include an additional 413.3 acres for non-surface use and will not require any additional surface impacts.
The terms of the amendment will remain consistent with the existing agreement, which was approved by the Board in April of 2011, which includes a paid up, five-year, oil and gas agreement, a $3,500 per acre bonus payment, $25 per acre rental, and a 20 percent royalty. The total bonus payment will be approximately $1,446,550 and will be deposited into the Game Fund or an interest bearing escrow account for the future purchase of wildlife habitats, lands, or other uses incidental to hunting, furtaking and wildlife resource management.
The second item involves the oil and gas rights owned by the Game Commission under a 3,710.33-acre portion of SGL 36 in Albany and Monroe townships, Bradford County, and is with Chesapeake Appalachia, L.L.C. of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The terms of the agreement are a paid up, five-year, restricted surface use oil and gas agreement, a $2,000 per acre bonus payment and a 20 percent royalty.
Chesapeake Appalachia already has a strong lease position surrounding this portion of SGL 36, and has initiated well drilling and development programs on adjacent private lands. Chesapeake Appalachia has the ability to unitize the Game Commission's oil and gas reserve by horizontal drilling from adjacent private lease holdings with no disturbance to the surface of SGL 36.
"As this oil and gas development agreement will not involve any surface impacts on SGL 36, the Game Commission staff focused on negotiating with Chesapeake Appalachia to safeguard the prudent development of the agency's oil and gas reserve and simultaneously protect the wildlife resources and recreational use of SGL 36," said Bill Capouillez, Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife Habitat Management director."
The bonus payment of $7,420,660 will be deposited into the agency's Game Fund or an interest bearing escrow account for the future purchase of wildlife habitats, lands, or other uses incidental to hunting, furtaking and wildlife resource management. Future rentals and royalties will be deposited into the Game Fund.
The third item, which was announced for competitive bid in May, involves the oil and gas rights owned by the Game Commission under a 3,177.7-acre portion of SGL 36 in Monroe and Overton townships, Bradford County, and also is with Chesapeake Appalachia.
The lease agreement includes a one-time bonus/rental payment of $2,000 per acre for a five-year, paid up, primary term, and a 25.5 percent royalty. Additionally, the bid provides the Game Commission a well pad location fee of $250,000 per well pad, if well pads are necessary on the surface of SGL 36. The agreement also restricts surface use to a 260-acre area, and a limit of two well pads for development. The agreement will include a free gas provision for the Game Commission to use free-of-charge up to 350,000 cubic feet of gas annually or an annual payment for non-use of the free gas.
Oil and gas development include a $50,000 performance bond. The agreement will include the Commission's standard wildlife and environmental protection measures.
The bonus payment of $6,355,400 will be deposited into the agency's Game Fund or an interest-bearing escrow account for the future purchase of wildlife habitats, lands, or other uses incidental to hunting, furtaking and wildlife resource management.
On all three agreements, oil and gas development will be regulated by the Department of Environmental Protection's oil and gas regulations, and the Game Commission's standard oil and gas development cooperative agreement and standard wildlife and environmental protection measures.
"The bottom line is that both agreements involving SGL 36 effectively maximize the agency's ability to allow for prudent oil and gas development by leasing 10.7 square miles (or 6,888 acres) of SGL 36, while simultaneously drastically reducing the overall needed use of that entire surface acreage down to a mere estimated 26 acres total," Capouillez said. "The initial revenues and future royalties will directly benefit hunters and trappers and wildlife in years to come as we continue to target key land acquisitions for our State Game Lands, and provide a much-needed source of funding to further our agency's wildlife resource program initiatives."
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