Pittsburgh Cheerleads (but doesn’t join) Act 13 Lawsuit

Pittsburgh City Council, long-time opponents of the Marcellus Shale drilling industry, passed a resolution called a “Will of Council” yesterday supporting the lawsuit filed by seven municipalities, the Delaware Riverkeepers and others against the State of Pennsylvania’s newly adopted Act 13 law. The Act 13 law replaces local zoning ordinances with a state ordinance when it comes to oil and gas drilling (see this MDN article about the lawsuit). Council President Darlene Harris sponsored the measure and all nine city council members signed it. A full copy of the resolution and a letter signed by all council members is embedded below.

The resolution essentially accuses the oil and gas drilling industry of buying off state elected officials. The cover letter council wrote to the municipalities filing the lawsuit says, “Act 13 is unprecedented, misguided, and plain wrong,” and goes on to cheerlead those who have filed the lawsuit.

Pittsburgh City Council banned all drilling within city limits in 2010 and has been hostile to neighboring municipalities that allow drilling—even threatening to sue them for “toxic trespass” if any any “drilling-polluted water” is allowed to reach the city (see this MDN story). So it’s no surprise they support the lawsuit. What is surprising is that they haven’t joined the lawsuit. It’s easy to talk big and pass resolutions, but quite another to spend money and go to court.