Harrisburg, April 30, 2013 –Senator Jim Ferlo (D-Allegheny) announced his intention to introduce legislation to enact a moratorium on shale gas drilling today at a rally where advocates delivered 100,000 signed petitions to Governor Corbett.
“I am proud to be the prime sponsor of legislation which will close down fracking operations so that their environmental effects can be studied in an unbiased fashion. We have been forced to stand by and watch while our water, air, and land have been ravaged by oil and gas development, and we must take a step back to deliberately and thoughtfully direct our path into the future,” Ferlo remarked.
Ferlo circulated a co-sponsorship memo to his Senate colleagues on Tuesday asking them to join his effort to establish a temporary natural gas drilling moratorium. The bill would prohibit the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) from issuing new permits and preventing drilling at sites where permits were granted, but where drilling has not yet begun. An unbiased, nonpartisan study commission would be established under the legislation, and they would address numerous issues which have arisen as a result of drilling in the Commonwealth, including: protection of rivers, streams and drinking water; air quality regulations; permitting and inspection standards; property rights of landowners and lessees; and the cumulative impact of existing and proposed drilling.
“The industrial capitalism of the oil and gas industry has had lasting, deleterious effects on our Commonwealth. We, as citizens, have spent billions in both public and private funds to cope with the fallout from the fossil fuel mining and drilling industry. Not only have we paid the price with our hard-earned dollars, we have paid the price with our health, with our land, with our crops, with our animals, and even with our lives,” Ferlo went on to say.
Speakers including members of the faith, environmental, and public health advocacy communities joined together in support of Senator Ferlo’s moratorium legislation on Tuesday. A former gas drilling worker also spoke with conviction about his own personal suffering and the pain and loss experienced by other workers. Activists delivered petitions signed by 100,000 citizens to the Governor’s Office at the conclusion of the rally.