The Fracking News: Unreasonable Development

Action against Act 13:  Sign this petition from PennEnvironment requesting a moratorium on new drilling. We’re almost to 20,000! Looks like Sierra Club members are also pushing for a ban on drilling.  Another option is to Occupy Well Street. Or, use your pick-up truck like this Jefferson County farmer did.

Bradford county commissioners are softening their stance against the impact fee; good thing, since that county’s drilling is expected to produce about a quarter of the total fees across the state. The Pennsylvania Utilities Commission will be collecting the fee, they’ve got a good FAQ on their website.

In a tragic play of politics, the Renew Growing Greener Coalition has realized that neither Corbett, nor the PA legislature had any real intention of funding the program. Despite increases in funding through Act 13, Corbett’s budget leaves them with less. Renew Growing Greener actually supported this legislation, so….how’d that work out for you?

Unfortunately, leaks and spills are becoming more and more of an issue in PA.. Chevron leaked over 4000 gallons of wet gas in Washington County over month starting in November.  Butler county has also seen a lot of drilling clay spilled.  In the North Hills, Rex Energy Corps wells are having casing problems, and in a typical turn of events they’re being cagey about where the contamination comes from.

The first round of sampling at five case-study sites has been completed in a landmark EPA study of the potential impacts of oil and extraction on water supplies.  That’s good news, but unfortunately for PA, not only did the money for a health study get cut from Act 13, but someone actually had the nerve to say it’s a bad idea to study people’s health.

Speaking health, according to the Clean Air Council, the DEP has done a poor job of enforcing air quality standards, regulating a row of compressor stations as individual sources, instead of aggregating them to measure their true impact.

Elsewhere, it’s not too late for New Yorkers wanting to ban drilling.  New York state court yesterday ruled for the first time that towns have the right to ban drilling – congrats!

Speaking of strong positions, the League of Women Voters of Indiana County took one against the Homer City Power Plant, and it’s plan to install scrubbers.  According to new air modelling from the Sierra Club, the $700 million scrubber project is like putting lipstick on a pig.  

Here’s a challenge for economists and planners: take $700 million and create a 10 year plan that would end up with the Homer City Power Plant closed, and Homer City economically stronger than it is today.

That’s the kind of thinking we need in western PA. And this guy in West Virginia has it, building solar panels from scratch and making them available to rural residents. Nice work!!

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