As you may be aware on Wednesday, December 14th 2011, the state Senate debated House Bill 1950, then voted in favor to pass the bill and forwarded it to the state House of Representatives for passage. Because of action by citizens like you lawmakers voted "not to concur" with HB 1950 which will trigger more negotiation in 2012 on this inherently flawed legislation.
One of the most critical elements in this bill gives the right to the state to “preempt” or “take away” local zoning authority as it pertains to Marcellus drilling. The simple truth is that preemption, if passed, will take away local government’s right to protect citizen’s private property rights through local zoning. Our state senators and state representatives are saying to us that they and other state government officials in Harrisburg know better than our local elected politicians as to how the drilling industry will impact our lives including our homes and schools, our personal safety and health, our property values and our roads and bridges.
Our fundamental freedoms and rights that we, as a nation, who have fought so hard for in order to make the United States of America what it is today, are on the verge of being lost and our right to self govern.
The natural gas industry in conjunction with our legislators in Harrisburg may in fact usurp our rights to govern ourselves if we, the citizens allow it. Now is the time to speak out Pennsylvania because once this law is passed local government will no longer have control of the future of each of our townships, municipalities and cities. Some drilling industry plans call for over 100,000 Marcellus wells in Pennsylvania. If we, the people, want to have any local voice as to how far those wells are placed from our homes and schools and have an impact on how the drilling industry conducts themselves in our communities, you must act now.
Related legislation, SB 1100, also strips communities of any ability to control or guide drilling on the local level. Both bills ignore quality of life issues such as protective measures for air pollution control, pipeline rights of way, and compressor station isolation distances.
Local zoning is the cornerstone of Pennsylvania land development as it ensures and defines the “character” of our townships and municipalities in Pennsylvania. If you believe like we do that these bills mean the loss of our right to self govern, contact your state Senator, your state Representative and the Governor and tell them not to interfere with the right of communities to protect their citizens through local decision-making.
You have the right to protect your family, home and community. Tell Pennsylvania State Law Makers that they must start over with a 'Human Health and Safety Communities-First' approach to oil and gas drilling legislation. Our state representatives must immediately pass legislation to halt shale gas drilling and waste water disposal until legislation is developed that serves the people of Pennsylvania. Such legislation would be based on public health science and include,
a state severance tax on oil and gas production,
a permit process accessible to the public,
the legislation would recognize the role of local government,
increase isolation distances to protect the public,
impose full cost bonding, well plugging and liability insurance requirements to protect public safety and property values,