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Drilling legislation provoke criticism of environmentalists

1/20/2012 | Real Estate Blog

On Tuesday, environmental groups met in Harrisburg to speak out against legislation that would remove zoning authority from local municipalities with respect to natural gas drilling. We have previously written about the legislation on this blog.

The groups, sources said, oppose the legislation because it would grant drilling companies too much influence and would leave local officials unable to make decisions regarding the placement of wells, pipeline compressor stations and waste storage.

The Sierra Club, the League of Women Voters, PennEnvironment, Clean Water Action and Protecting Our Waters were all represented at the rally. The groups are pushing for protection of local control over drilling, which will permit officials to use local zoning laws to protect public health, safety and welfare.

Among those present at the rally was a Lutheran pastor, who offered a scriptural basis for opposing both Marcellus Shale drilling and the legislation going through both state houses. A speaker from the League of Women Voters said the league was disgusted that General Assembly would even consider the bills. The League reportedly believes that local ordinances ought to reflect local values, and that local communities need to have the right to regulate drilling.

The bills, as our readers likely are aware, have generated a lot of debate between those who support local control and restriction of drilling of drilling and those who wish to make the state hospitable to the drilling industry.

Currently, the legislation is pending in a conference committee of House-Senate negotiators. It will be interesting to see how the bills proceed through the state houses.

Source:, “Environmentalists Rally Against Impact Fee Bill,” Susan Phillips, January 17, 2012.