- This bill does unprecedented harm to the ability of local governments to protect their citizens and communities by eliminating local control of zoning of this industry as set forth the Municipalities Planning Code. Consequently, drilling, laying of pipeline and the building of compression stations and gas processing plants will essentially be permitted anywhere, including residential areas.
- To add insult to injury, the bill also takes away the legal right for any municipality to challenge a permit decision by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) that the local government believes is not in the best interest of its community.
- The law is written so that the Public Utility Commission (PUC), which has little expertise in zoning matters, will be given the authority to invalidate local zoning ordinances that seek to restrict drilling.
- The bill allows DEP to grant drilling permits when the gas drilling company is in violation of laws elsewhere in the state. Almost every other statute administered by DEP requires DEP to deny permits if the applicant has unresolved violations of law elsewhere in the state.
- The bill requires drillers only to replace, not clean up, private and public water supplies they contaminate. So if the gas drillers pollute a water supply under HB 1950, they only need to bring in the water buffalo or other replacement water, not clean up the mess. (Based on what happened in Dimock, PA, these water buffaloes are eventually removed by the gas drillers, leaving people to fend for themselves.)
Although HB 1950 will soon be law, our worst response would be to accept this egregious violation of our rights to protect our communities and our health and remain silent. Speak out, get involved and let your representatives know your concerns.