Prevent Repeal of Pittsburgh’s Natural Gas Drilling Ban

Target: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett and the Pittsburgh City Council

Goal: Support Pittsburgh’s ban on natural gas drilling

In 2010, Pittsburgh became the first city to ban natural gas drilling. The effects of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, were deemed just too detrimental to the environs of the greater Pittsburgh region. When it came to light that natural gas drilling companies leased hundreds of acres of land in Pittsburgh, citizens demanded that the city council kick the drillers out. They did, though the ban was only in effect within city boundaries. Now, the Pennsylvania state government is claiming that the city was not within its rights to pass the law.

Fracking has proved to be an effective method of collecting natural gas, but the environmental impacts are heinous. Distressingly, no environmental impact studies were conducted on how fracking would affect western Pennsylvania in particular. However, the general impacts are well studied and known.

Massive amounts of gases and heavy metals that are jarred loose by the process of fracking are spewed into water sources. Furthermore, it is inherently dangerous to have a major gas drilling operation located within a densely populated city. People who live near fracking sites get sick, it pollutes water, and kills livestock. The city of Pittsburgh City Council took in all of this evidence and passed the anti-fracking law hoping to protect Pittsburghers from the dangers of hydrofracking.

However, Pennsylvania’s state legislature is now attempting to repeal the law that Pittsburgh passed. Apparently, a city’s attempt to keep its residents safe violates the state’s right to pass environmental regulations. For two years, this law stood unchanged, now the state government is revoking the law because influence from gas corporations. Pittsburgh must be allowed to protect its citizens and commended for doing so, and not be the victim of the state government’s greed.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Corbett and Pittsburgh City Council members,

In 2010, Pittsburgh became the first city in the nation to outlaw hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and natural gas drilling within its city limits. This law was passed so that Pittsburgh residents could be kept safe, rather than be threatened and exploited by the natural gas companies who, unbeknownst to residents, had leased hundreds of acres within the city to use as drilling sites. Now, after two years, word has come down from the state level that this law is illegal and that the city council had no right to pass it.

Despite what the drilling companies may say, fracking is dangerous. People who live in or close to shale fields often have no clean water to drink. Livestock and other animals that drink from the contaminated water sources in these regions die.

How are the water sources contaminated? The process of fracking sprays heavy metals and radioactive materials into the water table. There is also the inherent chance of a gas leak, fire, or explosion. By passing this law against natural gas drilling inside the city, the Pittsburgh City Council was doing its job, keeping its people safe and healthy. They should be praised for this, not chastised because they did not play into corporate greed.

The claim that Pittsburgh’s law hampers the state’s law to create and enforce environmental regulations is pure nonsense. This is financially motivated plain and simple; what is at stake are the lives and the health of Pennsylvania citizens. Please allow this law this law to stand and give Pittsburgh the right to stand up for and protect its people.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: sakeeb via flickr

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