HARRISBURG — The man Governor Tom Corbett tapped to oversee the state forests has been forced to resign.
Richard Allan is a Luzerne county native and was recently under fire for his handling of an issue involving proposed natural gas drilling in a state forest in our area.
This was Governor Corbett’s decision. He asked Richard Allan to resign as secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Allan went along with it and is off the job.
The big question is: why?
A spokesman for the governor’s office won’t say and will only tell us it’s a personnel issue.
It was only a couple months ago when we spoke with then-DCNR Secretary Richard Allan at a meeting in Sullivan County. The meeting was invitation-only, discussing proposed natural gas drilling in a portion of the Loyalsock State Forest.
“That was a crowd that you selected. They are local stakeholders, and they have a local interest,” Allan said.
Back then, Allan insisted the process was public. Many begged to differ, and pushed for meetings where the public could voice concerns.
They got that chance earlier this month after Allan, and the agency he’s overseen since 2011, responded to pressure and agreed to hear from concerned citizens.
Still, the Sierra Club claims DCNR has been engaging in backroom negotiations with Anadarko Petroleum and has refused to share the company’s plans for the state forest with the public.
Even though administration officials say Allan’s resignation is neither related to the Loyalsock State Forest nor any policy issues saying simply “it’s a personnel matter.”
Environmental advocacy group Penn Future says “we are hopeful that the change in leadership at the DCNR signals a change in policy on the Clarence Moore lands and that the governor will direct the DCNR to hold the true public input process that we have requested.”
Richard Allan who went to high school in Nanticoke and graduated from Wilkes University did not return our email.
A spokesperson for DCNR says his departure doesn’t affect the timeline for a decision on drilling in the Loyalsock State Forest.
Ellen Ferretti, Deputy Secretary for Parks and Forestry, will serve as Acting Secretary effective immediately.