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Conservation groups debate gas drilling ties

Updated:

PITTSBURGH (AP) - As a natural gas drilling boom sweeps Pennsylvania and other states, conservation groups are debating whether it makes sense to work with the industry to minimize impacts to the environment - and whether to accept industry donations.

The Pennsylvania chapter of the Audubon Society and the Ruffed Grouse Society worked with a gas industry group to hold public meetings for birdwatchers, anglers, hunters and hikers to ask questions about drilling.

Don Williams, a Harleysville, Pa., resident who attended one meeting, say the idea of the drilling industry making donations to an independent conservation fund came up several times.

Audubon and the Ruffed Grouse Society say they aren't seeking such donations but are talking with the industry about ways to strengthen rules and restore habitat after drilling.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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