Letter to the editor | A gift to the environment

December 24, 2013 

Merry Christmas, Pennsylvania!

The Sierra Club urged legislators to vote no on Act 13.

Gov. Tom Corbett, Sen. Jake Corman and Rep. Kerry Benninghoff supported Act 13 as a gift to the shale gas industry.

Reps. Scott Conklin and Mike Hanna, now joined by the Supreme Court, stood up for residents and the environment.

The Supreme Court has now spoken on Act 13: By any responsible account, the exploitation of the Marcellus shale formation will produce a detrimental effect on the environment, on the people, their children and future generations and potentially on the public purse, perhaps rivaling the environmental effects of coal extraction.

This unprecedented decision supports the rights of our health, our communities and the environment, based in part on the environmental rights amendment, Article 1 Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution: “The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic, and esthetic values of the environment. ... As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.”

The decision is a victory for our local communities and for those who must continually fight to protect them against the Corbett administration and a House and Senate that consistently put the interests of the oil and gas industry first.

Moving into the new year, those of us who hold the values of Section 27 to be important are hopeful that this decision will mark a turning point in protecting Pennsylvania.

Gary Thornbloom, Julian

The writer is chairman of the Sierra Club Moshannon Group.

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