Those who oppose drilling are trying a new tactic. Their argument is that (a) gas drilling pollutes the air and the water, (b) clean air and water are basic human rights, therefore (c) gas drilling must be banned in order to protect human rights. Here is an example of that argument from a town meeting in Newton Township (Lackawanna County), PA, convened for the purpose of organizing against drilling:
The Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition out of Luzerne County and the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund spoke to the large crowd. The CELDF is drafting an ordinance to ban drilling. It would establish a bill of rights for the citizens of Newton Township, prohibiting anything that violated basic human rights; for instance the right to clean air and water. Ben Price, a spokesman for the non-profit said that would in turn ban drilling. He said a similar ordinance in Pittsburgh is so far successful.*
A landowner who attended the meeting had this comment:
A fourth generation farmer in Newton Township and a leaseholder, Keith Eckel, criticized the ordinance. "You ban drilling and you have taken away a property right," he said.*
The only problem with the argument from those who oppose drilling is that their opening assumption that drilling pollutes air and water is not true. If it were, there would be evidence of it everywhere. Therefore, the whole argument falls apart.
*WBRE/MSNBC (Mar 31, 2011) – Newton Twp. at Odds Over Gas Drilling Ban