PA Politics: Bargaining away community protections
October 29, 2011
It’s often said that getting anything done in government requires compromise. But in their continued give-and-take over Senate Bill 1100, Pennsylvania legislators are poised to go too far and sell out communities.
Amendments were made to the bill this week that could result in some much-needed improvements to the state's outdated Oil and Gas Act, but it still rests on a faulty and unjust premise: forcing cash-strapped municipalities to give up their zoning rights in exchange for revenues from an “impact fee” charged to gas drillers. And linking these two issues now makes any legislator who wants to improve protections from damaging drilling party to the gutting of local control.
Yesterday, Earthworks and its allies in Pennsylvania issued a statement opposing political efforts to bargain away municipal rights, and demanding more meaningful protection of water supplies. Communities are already reeling from the state’s rush to drill, and it’s both illogical and wrong to ask them to accept what could amount to paltry protections in exchange for the very right to protect themselves.
A vote on the amended version of SB1100 could come as early as Oct. 31 or Nov. 1. If you live in Pennsylvania, please call your Senator immediately! Tell them:
· SB 1100 should not reduce municipal rights to control drilling.
· SB 1100 should protect our drinking water supplies by establishing a setback of at least 3,000 feet.
· Senators should get their caucus leadership to commit to support these two issues.
Find your Senator, and also contact these key officials:
Senator Scarnati (R), Senate President: firstname.lastname@example.org, 717-787-7084, 814-726-7201
Senator Pileggi (R), Majority Leader: email@example.com, 717-787-4712, 610-358-5183
Senator Costa (D), Minority Leader: firstname.lastname@example.org, 717-787-7683, 412-241-6690
Senator Hughes (D), Minority Appropriations Chair: email@example.com, 717-787-7112, 215-879-7777