Thursday, September 2, 2010

Pennsylvania Politicians Steal Property Rights to Support Gas Drilling

My daughter and husband playing by the brook on our land

Governor Rendell and many Pennsylvania politicians often resist issuing regulations to protect us from pollution, runoff and other environmental degradations -- even if water would be contaminated, communities flooded or economies harmed -- because to do so might strip a property owner of their rights to use the land for economic gain.

Now, by contrast, Governor Rendell is planning to strip me of my property rights to protect my 68 acres in Columbia County from misuse and harm.  These are the acres my Mother cherished and which, on her death bed, she called on me to protect from harm.

My Mum enjoying her land still during that last year
when she was battling her pancreatic cancer

Governor Rendell and others are seeking legislation called "forced pooling" that would strip me of my right to say no to natural gas drilling under my land.  

Drilling for natural gas on any portion of my property (whether the drill pad is located on the grounds or the drilling and injection of fracking chemicals are allowed to take place under the ground) puts at risk the waters that feed the tiny brook that flows through that land (a brook named after my daughter), threatens the many springs of fresh water that come to the surface all over, and puts at risk the well water I and my kids drink in the house.  

Gas Drilling happening nearby our property

With this legislation, I would be stripped of my legal right to say no to drilling, the injection of chemicals and the extraction of gas from the rock, soils and minerals that are part of my land (and therefore part of my legally owned property), if neighbors of mine decide to open up their lands to drilling.  

So Governor Rendell and other PA politicians are happy to defend the rights of property owners in order to prevent environmental and community protection laws from being passed; and yet now they are eager to strip me of my property rights to say no to the misuse of my land in a way that will harm the environment, my family and my community.  

There is one word to describe this kind of politicking -- "hypocrisy".