Last night, community members and environmental activists voiced their support for Councilman Doug Shields’ bill to ban Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling in Pittsburgh.
Council Chambers were packed with people toting signs and wearing T-shirts protesting the Shale drilling, while a single supporter of city drilling couldn’t be found.
Former Green Party Senate candidate and environmental activist Mel Packer says Council should pass the bill, despite the fact that it goes against a state regulation that says municipalities can’t outlaw gas wells.
“You need to ignore the lawyers that will tell you it will likely be declared unconstitutional by the state courts, because it’s in conflict with Pennsylvania state laws. You need to welcome that controversy. You need to challenge the law that says the citizens of the city don’t have the right to defend, to protect our environment. You need to stick up for the civil rights of our community. You need to stick with the citizens, not corporate powers.”
Kate St. John of Greenfield says drilling in the city would lower property values and quality of life in the neighborhoods containing gas wells.
Many echoed pollution concerns surrounding the fluid drillers use to fracture the rock layers surrounding deep pockets of gas, saying that such “fracing” water contains carcinogens and contaminates water supplies.