Environmentalists Rally Against Impact Fee Bill

  • Susan Phillips

Todd Vachon / WHYY/Newsworks.org

Hundreds of protestors rally outside the Shale Gas Insight Conference in downtown Philadelphia in September, 2011.org

A coalition of environmental groups are in Harrisburg today, rallying against a legislative proposal that would strip local municipalities of zoning authority over natural gas drilling. The groups say House Bill 1150 and Senate Bill 1100, while imposing an impact fee on gas drillers, would also grant drilling companies too much influence. They say a provision leaves local officials ham-strung when it comes to deciding such things as locations of wells, pipeline compressor stations and waste storage.

“This bill is the antithesis of local control and represents a serious threat to democratic decision making by Pennsylvania communities,” said Maria Payan, Director of Peach Bottom Concerned Citizens Group. “Will we be allowed to use local zoning laws to protect the public health, safety and public welfare, or will our state enact a law to accommodate the oil and gas industry and their high-paid lobbyists?”

A press release sent out by the Delaware Riverkeeper says the state Constitution and the Municipalities Planning Code grant authority to local officials “to address local environmental and public resources.”
Among the groups protesting in Harrisburg today are the Sierra Club, the League of Women Voters, PennEnvironment, Clean Water Action, and Protecting Our Waters.

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