Friday, January 20, 2012

The Real Frackasaurus Coloring Bookby Ben Price, Projects Director, CELDF

August 30th, 2011

On November 15, 2010, South Fayette Township in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania passed a zoning ordinance regulating the location of oil and gas extraction activities in the municipality. The ordinance was drafted by the Township and cleared by its Zoning Board in an attempt to protect from fracking as much of the community as possible through the land-use regulatory authority delegated to the Township by the State in the Municipalities Planning Code (MPC). What the Board of Commissioners adopted is an ordinance they cleared as to legality with their municipal Solicitor. They played it safe. They colored inside the lines.

One day later, on November 16, 2010, Pittsburgh City Council adopted a Local Bill of Rights Ordinance that bans corporations from extracting gas anywhere within the City. The Council Members decided not to surrender any part of the City to the frackers, arguing that all residents of the City have equal rights, and the Council Members had each sworn to protect the health, safety and welfare of all of the residents equally. Critics of the Ordinance said it is illegal and unconstitutional because it makes people’s rights trump corporate privileges recognized by the courts, and it challenges state laws that preempt local law-making and everybody knows state laws are superior to local ones. This community rights ordinance has the temerity to recognize the right to local self-government, the rights of natural communities and ecosystems, the right to water, and that corporate privileges are subordinate to the fundamental rights of members of the community...continued...