The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS) originally opposed PA House Bill 1950 and Senate Bill 1100, the two primary bills before the General Assembly that deal with the issue of natural gas development that are now very close to reconciliation and a signature from Gov. Tom Corbett. PSATS’ primary objection is that the bills would strip away most, if not all, municipal authority to regulate gas drilling in their own communities. Recent amendments to the bills have made them “more reasonable” and more palatable to PSATS, but they are still not good enough to garner an endorsement.
An editorial by PSATS’ executive director, David Sanko, offers a summary of their guiding principles on the topic of Marcellus Shale gas drilling, and an indicator of what it would take for a full endorsement of the new legislation:
…we support enhancements to current law to better protect our environment (land, water and air). We support the creation and enhancement of pipeline standards to provide for the safe transport and distribution of these resources. We support the development and enhancement of public safety mechanisms and emergency response plans that will ensure the maximum protection of Pennsylvanians. We support market development programs to encourage greater use of natural gas. We support the distribution of a local impact fee where a significant majority of the revenues remain in affected communities, enabling them to deal with development-related costs today and in the future and to avoid local property tax increases. And most importantly, we oppose the total elimination of local control, including land use. Instead, we support the maximum possible retention of local decision making authority to provide for the reasonable development of natural resources consistent with law.*
*Hellertown-LowerSauconPatch.com (Dec 12, 2011) – Op-Ed: Let’s Get Marcellus Shale Development Right