Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

It’s Unanimous: Philadelphia Opposes Act 13, Affirms Law is Unconstitutional

Climate
It’s Unanimous: Philadelphia Opposes Act 13, Affirms Law is Unconstitutional

Protecting Our Waters

Community leaders and activists from across the Philadelphia area praised the Philadelphia City Council’s resolution yesterday opposing Pennsylvania Act 13. The resolution opposes Act 13 and affirms the Commonwealth Court’s decision to strike down a portion of that law that attempted to strip all state municipalities of their ability to protect the health and safety of their residents by passing bans, moratoria or even the most moderate zoning restrictions on any aspect of heavy industrial shale gas drilling.

Councilman Curtis Jones, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and Councilman Kenyatta Johnson co-sponsored the resolution. Up to 200 opponents of shale gas drilling have attended several City Council hearings in Philadelphia, including one in March 2011 focused on pressing the Delaware River Basin Commission to maintain its moratorium on fracking.

The resolution approved by City Council supports the Commonwealth Court decision which found Act 13 unconstitutional because it removes the ability of local governments to legislate to protect the health, safety and welfare of its residents with regard to gas and oil operations. The legal challenge to the law was brought by seven municipalities, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Dr. Mehernosh Khan in March.

In July, the Commonwealth Court declared the municipal preemption provisions of Act 13 null, void and unenforceable and allowed an injunction on its implementation to remain in place while the case proceeds to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Philadelphia City Council joins more than 70 local government units supporting the overturning of the law and several “Friends of the Court” who have filed amicus briefs in defense of the Commonwealth Court ruling.

“Philadelphia City Council has taken decisive action today to protect the drinking water for its residents and the region by casting a vote against Act 13, the law that pushes gas and oil operations into every corner of every municipality in the state. The City is throwing its support behind the communities of Pennsylvania instead of drilling and fracking special interests. This critical support is much appreciated as we go to the Supreme Court to defend the overturning of Act 13,” said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, an original plaintiff in the lawsuit.

“Act 13’s attack on democratic rights, health and safety managed to outrage a broad spectrum of the population from firefighters to farmers, including the great city of Philadelphia, which happens to be full of people who drink water, breathe air and recognize a terrible law when they see one. The Philadelphia City Council has done a great job of standing with residents and environmental advocates across the state in opposing this unjust law,” said Iris Marie Bloom, executive director of Protecting Our Waters. “We’re delighted to see the council once again show positive leadership and resist fracking.”

“With today’s resolution, the Philadelphia City Council has asserted what should have been obvious to Governor Corbett and the state legislature: municipalities have a constitutional right to regulate activities within their bounds, especially when it comes to inherently dangerous practices such as hydraulic fracturing,” said Sam Bernhardt, an organizer with Food & Water Watch, a consumer rights group. “It should also be obvious to the governor that the people of Pennsylvania have a right to clean air and clean water, rights that fracking doesn’t allow for.”

“City Council’s vote to oppose Act 13 sends a clear message that Philadelphia defends a Pennsylvania municipality’s right to make decisions that protect residents’ public health and quality of life. City Council recognizes how imperative it is for local governments to have the power to decide where, or even if, the shale gas industry can operate equipment that emits air pollution in people’s backyards and that accelerates climate change,” said Matt Walker, community outreach coordinator with Clean Air Council.

Complete text of the Resolution is available from City Council or by clicking here.

Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.

 

One of the beavers released into England's Somerset county this January, which has now helped build the area's first dam in more than 400 years. Ben Birchall / PA Images via Getty Images

England's Somerset county can now boast its first beaver dam in more than 400 years.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Australia's dingo fences, built to protect livestock from wild dogs, stretch for thousands of miles. Marian Deschain / Wikimedia

By Alex McInturff, Christine Wilkinson and Wenjing Xu

What is the most common form of human infrastructure in the world? It may well be the fence. Recent estimates suggest that the total length of all fencing around the globe is 10 times greater than the total length of roads. If our planet's fences were stretched end to end, they would likely bridge the distance from Earth to the Sun multiple times.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Hopi blue corn is being affected by climate change. Abrahami / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

Climate change is making ancient Hopi farming nearly impossible, threatening not just the Tribe's staple food source, but a pillar of its culture and religion, the Arizona Republic reports.

Read More Show Less
Pollution on the Ganges River. Kaushik Ghosh / Moment Open / Getty Images

The most polluted river in the world continues to be exploited through fishing practices that threaten endangered wildlife, new research shows.

Read More Show Less
Oil spills, such as the one in Mauritius in August 2020, could soon be among the ecological crimes considered ecocide. - / AFP / Getty Images

By Kenny Stancil

An expert panel of top international and environmental lawyers have begun working this month on a legal definition of "ecocide" with the goal of making mass ecological damage an enforceable international crime on par with war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

Read More Show Less