The Pennsylvania Game Commission Board of Game Commissioners last week approved a number of new leases on commission properties that will generate more than $9 million in initial revenue. Of that total, just over $4 million involves leases in Washington County.
The agreements will also net the commission royalty amounts that are yet unknown.
One of the largest new leases involves 1,692 surface acres and nearly 1,298 oil and gas acres on State Game Lands 245, which is located in East and West Finley townships. The deal, which is with CNX Gas Co. LLC, will include a bonus payment of $3.893 million with royalty payments of 20 percent for oil, gas or other liquids and condensates owned by the commission and produced and sold from the land.
The other local lease is an amendment to an existing lease agreement with Range Resources Appalachia LLC for more than 62 acres on State Game Lands 117 near Burgettstown. Range would make a bonus payment of $107,245 and pay 19 percent in royalties for the oil, gas and other liquids and condensates produced and sold from the proposed tract.
• In other news this week, the board is considering a proposal to remove bald eagles from the state’s list of threatened species.
The commission will allow the public comment on the proposal to upgrade the bald eagle’s status from “threatened” to “protected.”
The final vote on could come as soon as January.
In 1983, Pennsylvania had just three bald eagle nests, all of which were located in Crawford County. The commission took 12 eaglets from wild nests in Canada that were raised and released in the state.
Now, there are more than 271 nests statewide.
If the bald eagle is delisted, the bird will continue to be protected under the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (the Eagle Act), the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Lacey Act. Under the Eagle Act, those who harm or disturb eagles are subject to a civil penalty of up to one year in jail or a $5,000 fine for their first offense, and criminal convictions can result in fines as high as $250,000.
Additionally, state penalties for disturbing protected wildlife include fines of up to $1,500 and bolster protection for Pennsylvania eagles.
To comment on the plan to delist bald eagles, email to BaldEagleCommentspa.gov. Written comments can be submitted to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, ATTN: Bald Eagle Comments, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797.
Outdoors Editor F. Dale Lolley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org