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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Not in Joe's backyard....

"Big news. Good news. Remember when Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon, the largest fracked gas producer in the U.S., decided to sue the frackers because he didn’t like their activities in his Texas backyard? At the time, we thought perhaps we should deliver some pizza* to Rex Tillerson’s legal team to show our support and solidarity. But we were too busy tracking workers’ deaths in the shalefields at the time, so we never got around to it. Now in a similarly contradictory move, Pennsylvania State Senator Joe Scarnati, Republican from Jefferson County, has announced — proudly — on his own website, on August 11th, 2014, that the watershed in his own backyard will be protected from water contamination from fracking: 'Flatirons Development, LLC, has agreed to discontinue Marcellus drilling operations of the Brandon-Day well which is located upstream of the Brockway Borough Municipal Authority Rattlesnake Reservoir.  The existing bore hole will be abandoned, sealed and reclaimed to eliminate the possibility of watershed contamination.'
State Senator Joe Scarnati (center) and State Representative Matt Gabler visited the Flatirons Marcellus Shale drilling site in the Brockway watershed in 2011.

This is a huge turnaround for a Pennsylvania state senator who has denied the possibility of water pollution from drilling and fracking for the past five years, frustrating the bejesus out of his constituents. Scarnati, the PA Senate’s President Pro Tempore, is a powerful and controversial figure.Sen. Joe Scarnati actually authored the highly anti-democratic Act 13 — the law that imposed a gag order on physicians and which, if not overturned,  would have stripped municipal rights from towns all across Pennsylvania, preventing them from protectively zoning or regulating any aspect of shale gas operations. That includes well pad construction, drilling, and fracking right through compressor stations, waste impoundments, and pipelines.

It’s not as if Sen. Scarnati’s turnaround means he will become an approachable, community-oriented advocate for clean air and clean water. He shows no particular sign of caring about fracking-impacted communities beyond his back yard. In fact, he was furious when Act 13’s municipal rights-stripping clause was overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court."


...and then get active, folks.

*Oh, the pizza. That's what Chevron offered people after the explosion down in Greene County this year: