Politics Matter

As we continue to wait for a decision from the Supreme Court as to whether or not Act 13 is constitutional (October 17 is when it’s scheduled to be heard), it’s worth letting the Indiana County Board of Commissioners know how much we appreciate their moratorium on drilling in the conservation zone. Call them and ask them to finish the job, and restrict drilling in Indiana County’s Conservation Zone. Here’s their number:  (724) 465-3805
Have you seen the county’s Comprehensive Plan? It has gems like this:  Develop an Energy Plan for Indiana County. Its comprehensive. You can see great posters outlining this 400 page document at the County Courthouse. It is also online, and it is LIVE in Indiana County as the commissioners adopted it last month.
Also, locally, Senator White’s bill to promote drilling on university campuses should make Friends of Whites Woods, College Lodge, and the College farm nervous. The bill has passed the legislature and will be signed by Gov. Corbett.  Here’s a very smart blogger that puts this latest industry push into perspective.  It will be up to local folks like you, and us, to make sure our county maintains it’s natural areas.
Apparently this governor and this legislature want to drill everywhere, which is why the Pennsylvania State Parks director was forced out of his position with DCNR.  This comes on the heels of another state worker who quit her position on the DCNR Citizens Advisory Council after 19 years saying that the administration was ignoring citizen input, had thwarted the council’s efforts to study drilling policy on public lands, and had cut the annual budget by 90%. Jan Jarrett and State Impact both have interesting pieces about what’s going on with the DCNR and DEP.
Earthworks questioned what’s not going on with the DEP in their report finding that over 66,000 gas wells are not inspected each year.
Meanwhile, despite a slowing pace of drilling, fracking is still dangerous: The reports of gas bubbling from the ground continue, and videos like this one of exploding gas pipes are relatively easy to find. Frackwater spills. And of course, earthquakes.
Ohio citizens are now starting to get fed-up, and are demanding more local zoning rights.  These folks are no doubt also motivated by the fact that the PA wastewater shipped to OH deep injection wells is testing high for radium.  PennFuture reports that companies are dishonestly trying to get around disposing of their frack waste – many would like to just spray our roads with it.
CHC partner PennEnvironment released an important report last month documenting fracking’s true cost:  “There are a staggering array of threats to the environment posed by Marcellus Shale gas development and myriad costs.”  Find the full report here.  PennEnvironment also released an environmental scorecard some months back; of all the failing legislators in Indiana County, only Jeff Pyle has a challenger, Jo Ellen Bowman.
Here are three political discussions that have been happening this season, along with links to put them into the context of fracking and natural gas:
Well, it’s not all bad news – there has been action.  On Sept. 22 there was a Global Frackdown, where communities and countries around the world called for an end to gas exploration. Read more about it here
3 Responses to “Politics Matter”
  1. Mike Knapp says:

    A little commentary for that picture: MDS Energy did not remove any trees for its operations. The clearing shown is a farmed field. The extent of the reclaimed well pad is the small green patch at the end of the access road leading into the middle of the field. We put it back exactly as we found it, as promised.

  2. Neighbors I’ve talked have said that the reclaimation went as planned. They also say that an access road and a 5000+ foot hole in the ground through aquifers is a pretty far cry from the “Leave No Trace” policy advocated by Yellow Creek State Park.

    CHC believes that the very nature of the process violates the intent of the conservation zone, and will continue to oppose efforts for further drilling there.

    • Mike Knapp says:

      The same neighbors that have access roads leading to their homes? The same neighbors that drilled holes in the ground to provide themselves with water?

      How do the permanent structures that they’ve erected within the zone fit in with the “Leave No Trace” policy advocated by Yellow Creek State Park?

      I’m sure that CHC wants to be consistent in its interpretation of the intent of the CZ. Therefore, I’m looking forward to your campaign to have those neighbors you’ve been chatting with volunteer to demolish their homes, remove their driveways, and fill in their water wells.

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