Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Pa residents say whoa! to their township's fracking map

Protect PT is challenging Penn Township's zoning ordinance, which allows drilling in the green areas of the map.
Protect PT is challenging Penn Township's zoning ordinance, which allows drilling in the green areas  .
Reid Frazier reports for StateImpact Pennsylvania:
A dispute over a local law that opens up much of a Pittsburgh suburb to oil and gas drilling has made it to a Westmoreland County courtroom.
The citizens group ProtectPT is challenging Penn Township’s zoning ordinance, finalized in 2016, that allowed drilling in parts of the township zoned as “rural resource” areas.
These are typically open parts of the community, like farms and other sparsely populated areas. The community, about 20 miles from downtown Pittsburgh, contains a mix of planned suburban subdivisions and farmland.
The group is arguing that the ordinance deprives residents in more densely populated parts of the township their rights under the Pennsylvania Constitution to a clean environment.
The group wants the judge to limit fracking to a handful of industrial zones inside the township.
“We are saying this infringes on those rights because it pollutes the air, it pollutes the water through forcing chemicals into the earth and (by) polluting groundwater, as well as surface water for spills on the surface,” said Ann LeCuyer, of Trafford, Pa., which is part of the Penn-Trafford school district, and Protect PT’s Project & Outreach Coordinator.
“There’s trucks, there’s the drill rigs, there’s the noise, all which would reduce not only our health but our enjoyment of our property.”
The group is basing its lawsuit on the state’s Environmental Rights Amendment, Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, which declares that “the people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment.”

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