Two members of Marcellus Outreach Butler, Ping Pirrung and Dennis McCann, hosted a lunch at their home in Middlesex Township on August 27 for our visitors. Janet and Fred McIntyre shared how their lives have been turned upside down and their health compromised since drilling began in the Connoquenessing. Woodlands.
John Stolz, Director of the Center for Environmental Research and Education and professor of biology at Duquesne University, explained the research he has been doing with the aquifers in the Woodlands. Rich Waters, an independent videographer, showed a moving video he created of other families’ stories. The final story came from Taylor Jennings who lived across the road from the large gas processing plant on Hartmann Road near Evans City. He described the foul odors, the truck traffic and the contaminated water that he can set on fire.
What were the results of NRDC’s tours of fracking sites, like their visit to Butler County? Check out the impressions of Frances Brenenke’s, President of NRDC, tour of western PA as captured in her blog.
On September 19th, NRDC launched the Community Fracking Defense Project. This new project, which is launching in five states—New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, and North Carolina—will provide assistance to towns and other local governments that want added control over the siting of and/or protections against the harms of fracking in their communities.
For example, NRDC legal and policy staff, together with local partners, will:
• Assist in drafting local laws and land use plans that control the extent of fracking within their borders and/or limit the harmful effects of fracking.
• Work to re-assert communities’ rights to protect themselves under state law.
• Defend relevant zoning provisions and other local laws that are challenged in court.
Kate Sidding, a NRDC attorney, filed an amicus brief in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on behalf of a number of municipalities in support of a lower court decision striking down portions of Act 13, a recently enacted Pennsylvania law that severely limits the ability of local governments to use their zoning powers to control where fracking occurs.
MOB was happy to host NRDC’s visit and is encouraged by their response and actions. We need more powerful organizations to step forward and take a stand like NRDC is doing. As more people and organizations stand up and make their voices heard, we increase our chances of stopping this destruction and getting permanent solutions for the people whose lives have been so negatively impacted.