|Anadarko blowout 1979|
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?