The Fracking News: Repeating History??

The Fracking News

Last week, just in time for Valentine’s Day Governor Corbett signed HB1950, a real sweetheart deal for the industry.  This site has a good summary of the bill.  How sweet was the deal? We can start with the drilling fee. It’s the lowest in the nation, and that’s even when you consider the impact of corporate tax on drillers.  Public health officials have said it violates medical ethics.  Despite language to keep new wells away from homes and other buildings, the legislation has loopholes you could drive a truck through.   Here’s what Erika Staaf from CHC’s partner PennEnvironment had to say:

 “If legislators were looking to pass a proposal that will allow more gas drilling near people’s homes, and the parks, playgrounds and schools where our children play and spend their days, then ‘Mission Accomplished.’

The optional impact fee also has created problems for local officials.  WashingtonJefferson,Butler and a few other counties have already passed resolutions to adopt the fee. However, commissioners in heavily drilled Bradford County are balking.  And PetersRobinson, andSouth Fayette Townships are planning legal action against the bill completely

According to Commissioner Ruddock, Indiana County will probably go for it.  Seems like that’s something the Natural Gas Task Force might discuss?

Natural Resources Defense Council blogger Amy Mall pointed to the PA legislation as part of a national trend towards the oil and gas industry crushing local governments.  This legislation creates a new Wild West for gas drilling in PA.

Protests erupted at several Senator’s offices last week over the passage of the bill, and a coalition called  for a moritorium on water withdrawals for fracking in PA.

How did we get here?  This blogger asks us to connect the dots, I’ll give you a hint, it rhymes with “Funny.” Just ask PA’s own Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum why he loves fracking so much. (Speaking of funny, have you googled Santorum?)

In these two articles we see how both Science and the law have been subverted by money from the oil and gas industry.

And of course, over the last couple months while this legislation was being debated, there’s been spillsleaks, and more violations.

In other news, did we tell you about the ethane cracker that the PA legislature wants so badly? It makes plastic and pollution.

Speaking of the ends not justifying the means, a report from last October in the American Economic Review estimates that “the costs imposed on society by air pollution from coal-fired power plants are greater than the value added to the economy by the industry.”  In other words, coal power sucks.

This last piece is relevant to the Sierra Club campaign in Homer City, which announced last week it’s intention to sue the Homer City Power Plant for it’s excess SO2 emissions.  

And lastly, a belated so long to Indiana native and CHC uber-volunteer, Dan Budris, who has taken a job near Boston working for environmental justice. He joins CHC’s volunteer lobbiest and another IUP grad, Peter Roquemore, who also left western PA last year to begin a career advocating for justice. Here’s a couple of great pieces of writing from Dan, and from Peter.  We miss you guys already!!

One Response to “The Fracking News: Repeating History??”
  1. Dan Budris says:

    I miss all of you as well, and thank you for the shout-out. When I get the chance I plan to be again involved with social and environmental justice in WPA; the work that is being done in Indiana is a wonderful example of how dedicated volunteers and organizers can achieve social and political change. Keep up the good work and my thoughts are with you!!


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