Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pittsburgh's Ban on Fracking

This happened in 2010, but it is news to me and may be to many readers of the blog. Here is a story about Pittsburgh's ban on natural gas drilling within its city limits. The relevant chapter (618) of the municipal code can be found here. Here is the introduction:

"The City Council of Pittsburgh finds that the commercial extraction of natural gas in the urban environment of Pittsburgh poses a significant threat to the health, safety, and welfare of residents and neighborhoods within the City. Moreover, widespread environmental and human health impacts have resulted from commercial gas extraction in other areas. Regulating the activity of commercial gas extraction automatically means allowing commercial gas extraction to occur within the City, thus allowing the deposition of toxins into the air, soil, water, environment, and the bodies of residents within our City.

Meaningful regulatory limitations and prohibitions concerning Marcellus Shale natural gas extraction, along with zoning and land use provisions, are barred because they conflict with certain legal powers claimed by resource extraction corporations. The City Council recognizes that environmental and economic sustainability cannot be achieved if the rights of municipal majorities are routinely overridden by corporate minorities claiming certain legal powers.

The City Council believes that the protection of residents, neighborhoods, and the natural environment constitutes the highest and best use of the police powers that this municipality possesses. The City Council also believes that local legislation that embodies the interests of the community is mandated by the doctrine of the consent of the governed, and the right to local, community self-government. Thus, the City Council hereby adopts this Chapter, which bans commercial extraction of Marcellus Shale natural gas within the City of Pittsburgh, creates a Bill of Rights for the residents and communities of the City, and removes certain legal powers from gas extraction corporations operating within the City of Pittsburgh."

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