Advocates for tighter regulations and appropriate taxation of drilling operations within the State of Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale region have announced plans to rally at the State Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg next Tuesday, January 17th. The goal of the rally is to urge legislators, who will be returning to work after a winter break, to reject House Bill 1950 and Senate Bill 1100. Both bills have been sharply criticized by environmental and conservation groups for failing to set adequate regulations on drilling operations, failing to adequately tax energy companies and for removing from local governments the power to regulate drilling operations.
Organizers of the rally also have plans to hold a virtual rally online for those who are unable to attend the rally in person. As an alternative to the two rallies, organizers are asking supporters to call their representatives on the day of the rally, urging them to reject HB 1950 and SB 1100, both of which may potentially come to a vote this month.
As we detailed recently, natural gas drilling operations are expanding rapidly in many regions throughout the United States, despite ties to pollution of trout streams and other water bodies, recent evidence that wastewater injection wells may be tied to earthquakes, and a history of spills and accidents. According to David Masur, director of PennEnvironment, "both House Bill 1950 and Senate Bill 1100, which could come up for a final vote this month, diminish the power of communities to protect themselvese from the negative environmental, health, and quality-of-life effects of Marcellus Shale gas drilling; set one of the lowest gas extraction taxes in the nation; and set environmental safeguards that don’t do nearly enough to protect the environment."
For more information on the rally, visit PennEnvironment.