Pennsylvania’s Act 13 has been called one of the worst environmental laws in the nation. A well-crafted law in a state with main interests in coal, oil and natural gas; it isn’t surprising that the legislators made a sneaky effort to give natural gas companies the ability to override any and all local government regulations and openly drill anywhere they choose using fracking; the most controversial method to date.

I grew up in Philadelphia and well-know that the state of Pennsylvania is part of the heart and soul of our country’s beginnings. The state takes extra pride and care in preserving everything that is historical, so you would wonder how and why a law like Act 13 was passed. Act 13 was presented as a pro-business, pro-clean-energy proposition; a totally misleading situation. Act 13 basically gives the natural gas companies the ability to ignore local laws, seize any private properties and quiet any physician reports from ill health of the process called hydraulic fracturing. This is a very controversial method that pumps huge amounts of chemicals and water into wells that are vertically drilled for the purpose of the release of hydrocarbons. By passing this law, the State of Pennsylvania has affected over 2,000 municipalities, requiring that private citizens relinquish all of their rights and giving the natural gas companies the ability for self-government. This is like asking the fox to watch the hen house and the hen house has an open door.

The Community Environmental Defense Fund is currently involved in actions that are attempting to assist local governments in efforts to protect themselves against Act 13. The proposition has been compared to situations that happen in third world countries, where corporations come in, take what they want under any circumstances and then resell it back to the people. Pennsylvania is highly coveted by the natural gas industry, as much of the state has a base of shale rock formations, which contains gas. The Republicans worked with the natural gas industries to promote Act 13 as an encouragement to bring jobs back into the ailing state. A Texas-based company called Range Resources, along with other natural gas related companies realized that the passing of Act 13 may be the answer to their prayers, overturning over three hundred years of zoning laws. They began to realign their focus, dropping other drill leasing projects and presented a multi-faceted program designed to bring needed income and jobs to Pennsylvania. Senior Managers of the well-known Marcellus wells began bragging about profit margins of between 73-99%.

This entire project was accomplished with the combined effort of the Republican representatives working with the oil and natural gas industries to create a 174 page bill in the backroom, to deliberately misrepresent the proposition to the people. It literally gives all rights to the oil and natural gas companies, allowing the drilling and fracking. Negotiation can be done regarding how the drilling is done, but it removes the rights of any other individuals to say ‘no drilling’ can be done. The ability to seize property, including company or private property is an outrage.

The legislators, along with the oil and natural gas industries should be ashamed of themselves. This is another face of total and absolute greed. This type of greed is what got our country into the trouble that it is currently in. The only difference is, instead of Wall Street or the banking industry, this is now the oil and natural gas industry. All, backed by shady politicians.


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