The importance of local zoning for Pennsylvania communities came into clear view recently when a fertilizer plant blew up in the Texas community of West. The plant was in a residential area and the destruction of homes and lives, as well as injuries, was staggering.
Here in Pennsylvania, we are flirting with similar disaster since the passage of Act 13, which stripped local governments of their ability to regulate gas drilling. Act 13 allows drilling, frack pits, compressor stations and other dangerous and polluting aspects of the industry even in residential areas, next to homes, schools, hospitals, etc.
Although Commonwealth Court ruled such aspects of Act 13 unconstitutional, our Machiavellian Gov. Tom Corbett appealed that ruling to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, where a decision seems to be deadlocked. The governor is preparing to stack the deck and nominate a seventh justice in hopes that the tie will be broken in favor of the gas industry, even though this seventh justice will never have heard the arguments before the high court.
It seems our governor knows no bounds to deception, deceit and chicanery! Pennsylvania residents must be alerted to Corbett's political machinations and demand from their legislators the right of local municipalities to retain zoning powers to protect citizens from the kinds of disasters that can occur when a dangerous industry moves into a residential area. Without local zoning to protect us, we are all in grave danger!
The writer is a member of Citizens Against Marcellus Pollution.
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