Beaver County Blue

Progressive Democrats of America – PA 17th CD Chapter

Archive for February, 2010

PA Commonwealth Court Upholds Authority of Municipal Zoning Boards to Hear Challenges to Municipal Ordinances by Gas Drillers

Posted by randyshannon on February 28, 2010

The Explosive Fracking Can Break Through to Water Table or to Reservoirs Such as the Ambridge Reservoir

by Randy Shannon

The Pennyslvania Commonwealth Court has ruled that gas drillers must present their appeals of Municipal regulations to the local zoning board first and not to the Court of Common Pleas.

The Commonwealth Court also specifically upheld six regulations affecting the use of land by shale gas drillers. These six regulations are:

1. identifying a zoning district in which gas production activities can be conducted;

2. establishing setback requirements in relation to public buildings, public or private streets, property lines, and properties designated as landfills or properties that contain hazardous substances;

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PA Supreme Court Affirms Authority of Municipal Zoning Boards to Regulate Gas Drilling

Posted by randyshannon on February 28, 2010

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.

The following article by a partner in a Delaware Legal partenership discusses the details of this decision. The article was published at 

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“We can’t sell off our water supplies for some short-term financial gain” New York City Council passes resolution against unregulated shale gas drilling

Posted by randyshannon on February 27, 2010

H2Ohhhhh, No You Don’t!

By Jessica Lee
From the November 20, 2009 issue | Posted in Jessica Lee , Local | Email this article

WATER DEFENSE: Hundreds rally at a natural gas drilling hearing in Lower Manhattan Nov. 10. PHOTO: JAISAL NOOR

WATER DEFENSE: Hundreds rally at a natural gas drilling hearing in Lower Manhattan Nov. 10. PHOTO: JAISAL NOOR

Several hundred New Yorkers attended the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC ) hearing Nov. 10 at Stuyvesant High School in Lower Manhattan to protest the state’s plan to allow natural gas drilling in the Marcellus shale geologic formation. Permits would be issued to companies using controversial hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling techniques near drinking water sources, such as the Catskill Mountains north of the city. The DEC recently announced an extension for public comments to the draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement from Nov. 30 until Dec. 31.

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.

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Peruvian Farmers Blockade Gas Drillers – No Drilling without “Informed Consent”

Posted by randyshannon on February 27, 2010

‘No oil drilling without tribes’ consent’, UN tells Peru 2 September 2009

An Indian blockade at Bagua.
An Indian blockade at Bagua.
© David Dudenhoefer

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.

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Farmers Blockade Driller Access to Prime Farmland in New South Wales to Demand Protection of Water Quality

Posted by randyshannon on February 27, 2010

Back off, BHP


24/07/2008 8:52:00 AM

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.

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Gas Drillers Open Political Offensive in Beaver County, Pennsylvania

Posted by randyshannon on February 26, 2010


One of 17 Dead Cattle near gas well spill in LA

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.

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Shale Gas Drilling is Major Threat to Water Supply for Millions

Posted by randyshannon on February 24, 2010

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:

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Greek Trade Unions Call 24 hr. General Strike to fight austerity measures aimed at working people

Posted by randyshannon on February 24, 2010

Trade Union members blockade the Greek Stock Exchange to protest austerity policies favoring the banks

from BBC News

The Trade Unions of Greece have called a 24 hour general strike to protest the austerity measures aimed at workers. It is the second general strike in two weeks and coincides with growing anger at the EU’s response to the crisis.

The action is set to be the biggest since Greece’s socialist government introduced cuts to bring the country’s debt and deficit under control.

Greece has closed airspace to all flights, trains and ferries are standing idle, and archaeological sites have been shut.

The country currently has a spiralling public deficit of 12.7%, more than four times higher than eurozone rules allow.

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Now that Healthcare reform can pass with 50 votes, the corporate Democrats drop the public option

Posted by randyshannon on February 23, 2010

The Democratic Party’s deceitful game

By Glenn Greenwald

Democrats perpetrate the same scam over and over on their own supporters, and this illustrates perfectly how it’s played:

Politics Daily, October 4, 2009:

Jay Rockefeller on the Public Option: “I Will Not Relent”

Jay Rockefeller has waited a long time for this moment. . . . He’s [] a longtime advocate of health care for children and the poor — and, as Congress moves toward its moment of truth on health care, perhaps the most earnest, dogged Senate champion of a nationwide public health insurance plan to compete with private insurance companies.

“I will not relent on that. That’s the only way to go,” Rockefeller told me in an interview. “There’s got to be a safe harbor.”

President Obama often says a public option is needed to drive down costs and keep insurance companies honest.  To Rockefeller, it’s both more basic and more vital:  The federal government is the only institution people can count on in times of need.


The Huffington Post, yesterday:

Rockefeller Not Inclined To Support Reconciliation For The Public Plan

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) threw a wrench into Democratic efforts to get a public option passed through reconciliation, saying that he thought the maneuver was overly partisan and that he was inclined to oppose it. . .

“I don’t think the timing of it is very good,” the West Virginia Democrat said on Monday. “I’m probably not going to vote for that” . . . In making his sentiment known, Rockefeller becomes perhaps the most unexpected skeptic of the public-option-via-reconciliation route. The Senator was a huge booster of a government run insurance option during the legislation drafting process this past year.


In other words, Rockefeller was willing to be a righteous champion for the public option as long as it had no chance of passing (sadly, we just can’t do it, because although it has 50 votes in favor, it doesn’t have 60).  But now that Democrats are strongly considering the reconciliation process — which will allow passage with only 50 rather than 60 votes and thus enable them to enact a public option — Rockefeller is suddenly “inclined to oppose it” because he doesn’t “think the timing of it is very good” and it’s “too partisan.”  What strange excuses for someone to make with regard to a provision that he claimed, a mere five months ago (when he knew it couldn’t pass), was such a moral and policy imperative that he “would not relent” in ensuring its enactment.  

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State Democrat Legislators Oppose Destruction of State Forests by Gas Drillers

Posted by randyshannon on February 22, 2010

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