According to the federal Energy Information Administration, Pennsylvania is the fastest growing state for natural gas production — i.e., fracking. We know how badly that sucks for the environment, our health and millions of people having their water polluted so badly they need to import tanks of bottled water just to bathe. But despite the touting of government officials, it isn’t even creating real meaningful job growth or revenue. In fact, Pennsylvania is the only major gas-producing state that does not tax natural gas production.
But here is a glimmer of good news:
Environmentalists and health advocates rejoiced last month when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down provisions of the state’s Oil and Gas Act that stripped municipalities of the power to determine where natural gas drilling activity could occur within their boundaries.
The long-awaited decision was a blow to a 2012 law known as Act 13 that was promoted by Gov. Corbett and the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry as a means to create a uniform statewide standard for gas development.
It is a huge victory for environmental groups, including Maya van Rossum, Delaware Riverkeeper and an original petitioner in the legal challenge. It will allow municipalities some control over where drilling and hydraulic fracturing take place, and we hope will set an important precedent on a national level.
Maya van Rossum is the spokesperson for and leader of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN), a nonprofit environmental organization and vital force in the preservation, protection, and restoration of the Delaware River Watershed. She heads a team of dedicated staff and volunteers who monitor the river throughout the Watershed’s four states: New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware; and advocate, educate and litigate for protection, restoration and change. Learn more and support their work online.