Right now the impacts of natural gas exploration in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale is a hot environmental issue. But can gas drilling and Pennsylvania wildlife co-exist? A qualified yes, according to researchers at Penn State University.

From this story in the Altoona Mirror:
The location of a Marcellus Shale drilling pad site could mean the difference between life or extinction for some of Pennsylvania’s unique wildlife, Penn State officials said Thursday. But if planned properly, there’s room in the state’s woodlands for it to thrive alongside responsible drilling, Penn State wildlife resources professor Margaret C. Brittingham said. “Natural gas drilling and protecting our natural resource base don’t have to be incompatible,” she said. “But it requires forethought, planning and trade-offs.” Such measures are the only logical step here, considering Marcellus drilling will become a part of western Pennsylvania’s industry and landscape for decades to come, Penn State researchers told about 20 people who attended a Cambria County Conservation District’s Marcellus Shale forum.

They hope planning for it, research and new technology that will digitally map two-thirds of the state and its wetlands will help landowners, groups concerned about Pennsylvania’s wildlife and drilling companies work together to minimize forest and resource damage. “We have to adapt,” Brittingham said, telling landowners to “do their homework” before allowing drillers to move onto their land and stress buffer zones near streams and unique forest areas.

That’s true, opponents of gas drilling say, but the problem is gas companies don’t want to do it right, they want to do it cheaply and easily. Thoughts? Reaction?