Pittsburgh Ban on Natural Gas Fracking Faces Challenge from State Authorities

Pittsburgh Ban on Natural Gas Fracking Faces Challenge from State Authorities by Democracy Now, September 14, 2012

AMY GOODMAN: We’re on the road in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where in 2010, well, Pittsburgh adopted a first-in-the-nation ordinance banning corporations from natural gas drilling in the city. However, state officials now say the ban fails to comply with Pennsylvania law and has encroached on the state’s authority to create environmental regulations. For more, we’re joined by the man responsible for the drilling ban, former Pittsburgh Councilman Doug Shields. Democracy Now! invited the Marcellus Shale Coalition to join us on the show but didn’t get a response.

AMY GOODMAN: Why were you so concerned about fracking?

DOUG SHIELDS: Well, it’s inherently dangerous. There’s no environmental impact studies on the part of the state. The state—the institutions of our government failed miserably to do any kind of due diligence, says, “OK, we’re sitting in the middle of the second-largest gas supply in the world. What’s so bad about that?” And that was about the extent of the thinking from the state, no environmental impact studies, no health risk studies. And now I’ve got sick people all over. I’ve got a Department of Health that is not funded to even look into the complaints. I have a book here, Stories from the Shale Fields, where people go on the record. I mean, these are people that are harmed, people that don’t have water, people that have livestock that died.

AMY GOODMAN: And they don’t have water because?

DOUG SHIELDS: It’s contaminated either by methane or other chemicals. Now, the industry, “Well, fracking never did anything.” [Emphasis added]

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