Pittsburgh Council has approved a resolution supporting State Senator Jim Ferlo's legislation that calls for a one-year moratorium on new drilling in the Marcellus Shale and the awarding of new drilling permits by the state. Ferlo, a Democratic from Pittsburgh, wants to provide time for Pennsylvania's leaders to create and implement new regulations on Marcellus Shale operations.
Patrick Dowd, the sponsor of the resolution, says the moratorium is important..."I think it makes sense for us all to take a breath, not permanently, but for right now, to make sure we understand what the consequences might be."
Dowd says there are dozens of leases being negotiated in his council district especially in the Lawrenceville area....."Wherever there is Marcellus Shale, this could be happening and there's Marcellus Shale all over the ground underneath the city of Pittsburgh. So, it's not unlikely this could potentially happen here. But before we let that happen, we want to make sure we have safety regulations and all sorts of things in place."
Kathryn Klaber, executive director of the Marcellus Shale Coalition called council's action unnecessary and ill-advised.....“Unfortunately, Council appears to have bought wholesale into the argument that Marcellus exploration represents a threat to our water and surrounding environment, notwithstanding a mountain of evidence from EPA, DEP and a just about every environmental regulator across the country that says precisely the opposite."
Klaber says Council is taking a position that’s unsupported by science and an affront to the rights of landowners.
Meantime, Councilman Dowd says he's expecting a legal opinion from the city law department by early next week on legislation he and 4 other council members introduced that would limit drilling and excavation in the city to urban industrial and general industrial zoned areas.