Opinion: Bucks Legislators Should be Ashamed
The recently approved Marcellus Shale bill strips municipalities of power to protect their people, says the Bucks County Sierra Club.
We are so disappointed in Bucks legislators, Senators Chuck McIlhinney, Bob Mensch and Tommy Tomlinson as well as Representatives Gene DiGirolamo, Paul Clymer, Frank Farry, Bernie O'Neill, Scott Petri, Marguerite Quinn and Kathy Watson for voting in favor of H.B. 1950.
This dangerous Marcellus gas drilling bill is disguised as an "impact fee" bill, but is filled with more loopholes for drillers than benefits to Pennsylvania. This bill is now on Gov. Tom Corbett's desk to be signed.
The legislators and the Corbett administration negotiated this bill behind closed doors and presented it to the House and Senate without time for legislators and the public to review its contents or comment about it. To say that this is bipartisan legislation is a mockery.
The bill rewrites the PA drilling laws and adds several new dangerous provisions, including provisions allowing all types of gas operations in all zoning districts; residential areas, schools, parks, hospitals, and sensitive natural and cultural areas.
This means people in Bucks County or nearby counties may be forced to live as little as 300 feet away from gas well pads, open frack pits, compressor stations or pipelines, despite evidence such development causes pollution, damages health, and lowers property values.
The bill also prevents municipalities from adopting zoning provisions that are stricter than the weak, mandated standards. Municipalities will no longer be able to play a central role in protecting the health, safety, and welfare of residents from the oil and gas industry.
Pennsylvania voters will remember who exposed the public to pollution and harm at election time and vote for legislators who will protect the citizens.
Chair, Bucks County Sierra Club Conservation Committee