With Marcellus Shale gas development increasing at a rapid pace and scale across northern Appalachia, fishermen, hunters, trappers and other sportsmen and women in the region have joined forces and created an alliance to urge state and federal agencies and the energy industry to protect outdoor traditions.
The Sportsmen Alliance for Marcellus Conservation (Sportsmen Alliance) is an affiliation of sportsmen and women working together to identify and mitigate the impacts of Marcellus Shale gas drilling on hunting, fishing, trapping and other outdoor sporting activities.
Members of the Sportsmen Alliance include Trout Unlimited (TU) and its Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, Mid-Atlantic and New Jersey state councils, Theodore Gordon Flyfishers, Izaak Walton League
of America and its New York and Pennsylvania state divisions, New York State Trappers Association, Quality Deer Management Association, Pennsylvania Forest Coalition and The Wildlife Society. Collectively, the Sportsmen Alliance members represent 60,000 sportsmen and women in the Marcellus Shale states.
According to an initial press release, the Sportsmen Alliance is not opposed to gas drilling and recognizes its potential economic and social benefits. Rather, it is concerned that the current state and local policies governing gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale do not adequately protect valuable and irreplaceable natural resources, including clean water and critical habitat for fish and wildlife.
Hunting and fishing in the Marcellus Shale region is big business. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, more than $8.4 billion in revenue is generated each year in Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia - the three largest Marcellus Shale states - from fishing, hunting and wildlife-related recreation.
"Our members are very concerned about the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on water resources, fish and wildlife and outdoor recreation," said Scott Kovarovics, Conservation Director for the Izaak Walton League of America. "The Sportsmen Alliance’s common sense recommendations strike the right balance between energy development and conserving the region’s most important natural resources."