HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – Governor Tom Corbett added a new wrinkle to the burgeoning debate over natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania this past week when he said some state colleges and universities could help ease their fiscal slight by allowing gas wells on campus property.

Governor Corbett’s proposal to put gas wells on campus property, made during an appearance at Edinboro University in the northwestern part of the state, was immediately pounced upon by his critics, who characterized it as dangerous and irresponsible. But Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley says the governor believes it’s a common sense idea.

“We’re not talking about in front of Old Main or the student union building. I mean, many of these universities have vast acres of undeveloped land and that’s where it could take place. In fact, after the drilling is done, there’s a very small imprint after that.”

In his effort to close a budget gap of more than $4 billion dollars, Governor Corbett has proposed dramatic cuts in state funds for state-owned and state-related universities, though lawmakers from both parties have indicated an intent to restore some of those proposed cuts.

Reported by Tony Romeo, KYW Harrisburg Bureau Chief

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