Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pittsburgh Citizens Exercise Democracy to Ban Natural Gas Drilling

Posted by: Noel Jones

Big news on Big Gas: YES! Magazine reports that with the help of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), citizens of Pittsburgh have drafted and passed an ordinance stripping gas companies of corporate personhood within their city limits and have banned natural gas drilling in Pittsburgh, which sits on part of the Marcellus Shale. They now join Licking Township and Nockamixon among other Marcellus Shale communities in Pennsylvania that have banned the process of hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" for natural gas within their city limits, a process which has contaminated the drinking water of scores of American families across the country since drilling began our West in 2005, when Cheney exempted Big Gas from the Clean Water Act.

This is an example of how much power regular citizens have when they come together and engage in our democracy. This is still a government of the People, when the people pull their heads out of their TVs long enough to make it a priority to learn how to fight effectively for their communities.

CELDF has been helping residents all across the country to teach Americans how to do just that, in their three-day democracy workshops. There was recently one held in Allentown, and it is rumored that we might have one coming to Easton in 2011.


Anonymous said...

Meanwhile Mark Ruffalo who organize viewing of the Gaslands documentary is on Pa's terrorism watch list. May be you also are. How does one check?

noel jones said...

time to file a Right to Know notice...

Anonymous said...

You seem confused about what Vice Presidents have the power to do. I beleive congress passed the act with the exemption. Without congressional approval from people like then Senator Obama, the bill may not have passed.

noel jones said...

Anon 1:03--not confused, just paraphrasing in a sense...Cheney initiated the exemption and rounded up the necessary votes to pass it--does anyone know Obama's vote on Cheney's energy bill? I will look it up when I have time, but if someone else has ready access to the link, please post it.

It is very important for the purposes of a meaningful debate, to not accuse individual representatives and senators of voting for a bill just because it passed congress--it's important to verify first.

Cheney definitely initiated it on behalf of his Halliburton buddies and other Big Gas friends. Whether or not Barak Obama voted for it in his senatorial capacity I do not know.

But thanks for addressing points worth clarifying.

noel jones said...

For anyone interested in fighting fracking for natural gas in PA, below is a message from Cathy Frankenburg of Clean Water Action--please spread the word:

Hi friends,

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
I wanted to let you know that there are two events coming up this week in Bethlehem and one in Kutztown. Tomorrow, Tuesday, Lehigh is holding a teach-in about gas drilling, at which I will be speaking. It is at 4:10 in room 280 of the STEPS building. They will be showing GASLAND at 8:15 on Wednesday in Whitaker Lab. Then also on Tuesday night, at seven, I'll be speaking about fracking at a MAREA event at TEK Park (9999 Hamilton Boulevard, Breinigsville, PA 18031).


Catherine Frankenberg
Program Organizer
Clean Water Action

901 North New Street
Bethlehem, PA 18018
(610) 691-7395
(610) 691-7396 Fax

1010 Vermont Avenue NW, Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005-4918
202-895-0420 x184 (phone)
202-895-0438 (fax)

Dennis R. Lieb said...

Just to make sure nobody is in la-la land here, if you think the members of congress are reading the bills they pass you are nuts. They have a general sense of what they are passing but the devil is in the details. There isn't one of them that can tell you everything that's in any bill.

And just so we all understand something here - specifically on the fracking/clean water issue. This was one small part of a major energy legislative package and the language pertaining specifically to the exemptions from the clean water and air acts is buried in minute language within the gas drilling section.

This was very purposely done to avoid just the kind of congessional scrutiny the previous commentor alludes to. Anyone who saw the Gasland documentary will be familiar with this tactic as described in the film.

It would be all but laughable for anyone to defend Cheney as a neutral party in the process or for not having a vested interest in the company he made multi-millions working for, or for condemning any other voting member of either party for not knowing the contents of every line in the bill.

You can certainly dislike the president - I voted for him but would give him a C- grade so far and see no signs of that getting any better soon - but politicizing this issue makes you look stupid and does no one any good. We are all going to suffer if we don't right this miscarriage of our environmatal sovereignty , regardless of who you voted for.