DNR Refutes Ousted State Park Chief’s Claim
A spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said there is no connection between last week’s dismissal of the state parks director and his opposition to a higher-up’s support for timbering or mining efforts on state lands.
The dismissal of John Norbeck is raising questions about whether Gov. Tom Corbett is making plans to allow mining or timbering on the lands.
“DCNR also does not plan to make any changes to policies related to commercial timbering or mining on state park lands,” spokeswoman Chris Novak said in an emailed statement to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We have no intention of allowing anyone to cut timber solely for revenue generation on state park lands. We would not allow surface mining where we control the mineral rights.”
Norbeck told the newspaper this week that his last day will be Oct. 19 after he received a termination letter from the state’s human resources office.
Corbett administration officials are not saying why they wanted Norbeck out, but say there’s no connection to resource development issues.
Norbeck told the newspaper he opposed one company’s plans to mine limestone beneath Laurel Ridge State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania and objected to discussion by an administration official about allowing commercial timbering operations in state parks.
Norbeck was hired in 2006. Democratic Rep. Bud George wants a hearing on the matter.