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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Will Pittsburgh Be The Next To Ban Fracking and Drilling?


Pittsburgh City Council approved a referendum for the fall ballot seeking to ban, in the city's charter, gas drilling activity. But there's still a catch, says the Post-Gazette's Joe SmydoMayor Luke Ravenstahl has 10 days legally decide whether to sign the measure, but if he takes more than eight, the deadline to add referenda to the ballot will have passed.
An impact fee on gas drillers is high on many state lawmakers' to-do lists, but some local officials told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that they'll decline any money it provides if the revenue-raising scheme approved by the General Assembly comes with too many strings. One concern is linking that fee to a requirement that zoning rules follow a certain template. 
- Picking up where they left off from the June state budget debate, representatives from the state's largest health care workers union and the Pennsylvania State Educators Association continue their push for a drilling tax in an op-ed today. Similarly, the Commonwealth Foundation reiterated their opposition to a levy in a piece yesterday.
The Wall Street Journal weighs in on the debate over how many jobs the drilling industry is creating in theMarcellus Shale region - and looks at 400 of those workers involved in building a new steel plant in Youngstown for gas pipes.
Cheaspeake's giddy announcement about their prospects for production in the Utica Shale caught the attention ofCNBC and Jim Cramer. Meanwhile, The New York Times says federal regulators are following up on their questions about the actual productivity and economics of shale drilling (and draws more criticism from their own public editorregarding the redacted emails used in their original reporting). 
- And in neighboring New JerseyGov. Chris Christie is still pondering a bill sent to him in late June that would ban hydraulic fracturing theresays NewJerseyNewsroom.com.

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