Monday, July 2, 2012

SB-1263 Blows out Act 13

Anadarko blowout 1979
Act 13 strips local zoning controls in the name of CONSISTENCY, i.e. to make it easier for the Natural Gas industry to do what ever they want wherever they want. SB-1263 eliminates that consistency with the 6-year moratorium. In the court challenge to Act 13, the argument by the state on the need for consistency just had a blowout - you can't have consistency for the entire state when some areas are exempt.

Granted a moratorium isn't a ban on gas drilling, and communities are still prohibited from imposing a ban nor institute zoning restrictions - however, what is stopping communities from raising hell and demanding to be included in the moratorium. You can bet that any political rally I attend for a state candidate that should I have the opportunity to ask them a question, the question will be "Do you and will you support expanding the Bucks-Montgomery County moratorium to include the rest of Pennsylvania?"

The study, despite not knowing the details of exactly what will be studied, who will do the study, where the study will be done and who is paying for the study, the fact that a study is going to be done speaks volumes.

We have been told time and time again gas drilling is "safe", fracking doesn't cause water contamination, methane naturally occurs in water wells, the bouncy stream in Leroy, PA is natural, the geysers in Union township are natural, the geysers from private water wells in Franklin are natural, Susquehanna river bubbling is natural, and black/brown water in Dimock is safe to drink, etc.  If it is all natural and safe - why the study and the moratorium?

(A note about the term "natural" being used to imply "safe" - toadstool mushrooms are "natural", but you wouldn't want them on your Pizza.)

"Naturally occurring phenomenon" can be studied without having a moratorium. Yes, it is, in all likelihood, politically motivated to provide cover to politicians who are at risk of not being re-elected - however politicians will not have "to save my butt" as part of their campaign rhetoric. They will need to have some publicly acceptable reason - and that being a question of the safety of gas drilling and it's impact on communities in terms of economics, environmental and health.

That there will be a study in conjunction with a moratorium indicates there is sufficient concern at the STATE level that there are problems with natural gas drilling. It also implies the state legislature, and Corbett (once he signs it) does not believe the Natural Gas industry's assurances that drilling/fracking is safe.

1. Call/write your representative and senator often and tell them to include your community in the moratorium.

2. Call/write your representative and senator often and ask them for the details of the study - who will do it, what will be studied, who is funding it, where will it be done etc.

3. Contact your local town/city officials, tell them to pass a resolution or write a letter of support to include YOUR city/town in the moratorium.

4. Contact candidates running for local/state offices, ask them for their position on the moratorium and if they will support expanding the moratorium to include your area.

Passage of SB1263 has the potential of turning gas drilling into a very hot political issue during this election year.

I know I've rambled on quite a bit - so to put into a soundbite: If gas drilling is safe why is there a moratorium? If gas drilling is safe why is the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania doing a study on it's impact?


  1. Firstly, you're up at 430 am!
    Secondly, we need a federal ban.
    Scott Noren DDS
    US Senate candidate, NY 2012
    Need coverage

  2. actually I was up at 2:45am had a very restless night. Secondly, my normal wake up time is at 4am.

    and yes we need a federal ban.... will you be in DC on 7/28?

  3. Thank you Dory for all of your hard work,what you are doing is invaluable.

    If any counties need to be included in the moratorium they are all of the counties located in the historically drilled areas of Pennsylvania that are riddled with abandoned wells.

    In fact studies and investigations have been done and those determined abandoned and unplugged wells have allowed stray gas to migrate near active drilling and fracking.
    Lives have been lost,homes exploded,and aquifers have been contaminated.