A ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has established that local municipal zoning boards have the power to regulate and permit shale gas drilling in areas under their authority. The municipal zoning regulation of gas drilling supersedes and is superior to permits issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Also the preemptions of the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act do not apply to local zoning control of land use.
On Nov. 16, the New York City Council passed a non-binding resolution (Res. 1850) requesting that state policy makers ban the drilling practice within the New York City drinking water watershed. “We can’t sell off our water supplies for some short-term financial gain,” said Councilmember James Gennaro (D-Queens). Councilmember Tony Avella (D-Queens) proposed another resolution (Res. 2191) that would call for a statewide drilling ban.
The UN has told Peru’s government it should not allow oil and gas drilling on indigenous peoples’ land without their ‘informed consent’.
If the government agrees to the UN’s call, it would mean that no drilling could take place in rainforest inhabited by uncontacted Indians, as they are unable to give their consent. This is something that indigenous organisations, Survival and many others have long been calling for.
Simmering tensions over BHP Billiton’s controversial plans to mine coal in a huge area of prime Liverpool Plains farming country boiled over on Monday, when landholders turned up in force to blockade a mining exploration site.
They barred BHP’s access to Tim Duddy’s property, “Rossmar Park” at Caroona, where the giant mining corporation wants to undertake exploratory drilling.
Locals say they are determined to maintain the blockade on a rolling roster until BHP agrees to a special set of land-use terms drafted by the Caroona Coal Action Group (CCAG).
BHP was granted coal exploration rights in 2006 over 250 square kilometres of some of Australia’s best farming land on the northern plains, north-west of Quirindi.
The coal resource under the plains has been estimated at half a billion tonnes, with a mine life of up to 60 years.
Local farmers and residents, led by CCAG, have waged a protracted campaign to ensure that mining doesn’t damage the plain’s agricultural interests, and are demanding an independent survey of the region’s underground terrain because of fears mining will damage the region’s water resources.
Shale Gas Drillers Open Political Offensive in Beaver County
by Randy Shannon
February 26, 2010
Wall Street bankers are investing big bucks in gas drillers as they spread across the state buying up mineral rights and drawing up leases to establish drilling operations. Stock prices of Atlas Energy, Range Resources, and Cabot Oil and Gas are soaring as they race to accumulate ownership of the enormous shale gas deposit in western Pennsylvania.
There are two big issues arising from the exploitation of the state’s shale gas resource. One issue is fair taxation that remunerates the people of the state for the loss of a resource that cannot be replaced. This is the gas severance tax that drillers pay to all states with substantial gas drilling. The other is protection of our water supply without which our property is worthless and our lives are at risk.
Congress to Investigate Safety of Natural Gas Drilling Practice Known as Hydraulic Fracturing
The top Democrats on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce have asked eight oil-field companies to disclose the chemicals they’ve used and the wells they’ve drilled in over the past four years. Last week, Waxman also revealed two of the largest gas drilling companies have pumped hundreds of thousands of gallons of diesel-based fluids into the ground in violation of a voluntary agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency.
View video of Democracy NOW program on developments in shale gas drilling here: