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Environmental Rights at Stake in Pennsylvania Supreme Court Election November 3
The outcome of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court election may be the most important of the election season. The Supreme Court has made decisions in many cases critical to health, communities and the environment in the past decade. It will likely play a role in redistricting after the 2020 census and may hear cases related to local governments’ attempts to restrict fracking. The judges on the court matter.
In 2013 Pennsylvania passed Act 13, which stripped local municipalities of the ability to use zoning to protect communities from the dangers associated with natural gas drilling. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down this provision. The Court ruled Act 13 was unconstitutional because it violated the Pennsylvania Constitution’s Environmental Rights Amendment which states “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. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come.” The three vacancies on the court are judges who ruled with the majority in this landmark case.
Clean Water Action has endorsed the following candidates for Pennsylvania Supreme Court because they have demonstrated a commitment in their personal and judicial philosophy to protecting public health and our environmental rights: David Wecht, Kevin Dougherty, and Christine Donahue.
The water the gas industry already uses for fracking is a toxic cocktail laced with chemicals. Despite this, Pennsylvania is actually considering legislation that would make fracking even more dangerous and less regulated.
SB 875 encourages the use of acid mine drainage (AMD) for fracking operations. AMD is polluted water that flows out of abandoned coal mines. More than 4,000 miles of streams in PA are already polluted by AMD. To make matters worse, very little research is available on how coal mine water reacts with chemicals used in fracking. What information there is exposes several problems that can result from the use of mine water. AMD for fracking is a bad idea. Help us stop this bill today!
Unfortunately, the bill passed the House and is now going to the Senate. Please email your state senator and the governor today and tell them to oppose this dangerous legislation.
Yet despite a proposed by budget from Governor Wolf that would reverse these trends, the legislature passed their own budget that continues to cut funding for DEP, invests nothing in renewable energy, and raids funds meant to improve our state parks and forests.