New “Citizens” Commission to Counter Corbett’s Marcellus Panel

By Greta Fenzl, Contributing Writer

“The Governor’s commission told part of the story,” said Thomas Au, Conservation Chair for the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Sierra Club. “The citizens of Pennsylvania have a different story to tell.”

A range of organizations from environmental and liberal advocacy groups, to the non-partisan League of Women Voters are forming a citizens’ panel as a counterpart to Governor Tom Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission. The coalition says it will offer Pennsylvania residents the chance to voice their concerns regarding Marcellus shale, to be combined in a report to be given to the Governor.

Two former State Reprentatives – Republican Carole Rubley and Democrat Dan Surra – will chair the Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission. Rubley, of Wayne, retired in 2008. Surra, of Elk County, was defeated the same year and later went to work with the PA Wilds.

“Marcellus Shale development will have a huge impact on our Commonwealth and it is critical that we get it right,” Surra said. “This commission will give citizens an opportunity to add their voice and bring some necessary balance to this critical debate.”

The Citizens Commission will allow people throughout the state who are personally affected by drilling in their backyard to share their own thoughts on the issue. This is also in response to the belief that the Governor’s commission has not taken into account social and environmental issues but instead are focused more on industry and economic concerns. Many critics have characterized industry representation on the MSAC as disproportionate, though the panel ultimately echoed several of the recommendations by mainstream environmental groups.

The Commission will hold five hearings across Pennsylvania in August and September. Each hearing will be held from 6 to 9 p.m., with the first hour reserved for expert testimony and the remaining two for public input.

In early October, the Commission will produce a report documenting the opinions and concerns of citizens to be delivered to Governor Corbett and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Meetings are scheduled starting tomorrow and running throughout September. A full list of meetings and registration is available at the Commission’s website.

Sponsoring organizations include: Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, Clean Water Action, Keystone Progress, League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, Penn Environment, Sierra Club, Pennsylvania Chapter, and the CLEAR Coalition.

2 Responses

  1. Ed Rendell signed over ALL the state forests in the State of PA, for exploration and drilling,
    while he was in office. All for the MONEY it would bring into the state.

    The mineral rights for many areas were sold over 50 years ago (to land managment companies).
    Many people have the “land” rights, not the “mineral” rights to their property.
    The Commonweath of PA, clearly states, “Mineral Rights SUPERCEDE, the Land Rights.”
    In essence, “Eminent Domain” applies…..if Gas drillers decide they need your land for drilling,
    and you do NOT own the mineral rights…guess what….as long as the owner of the mineral rights
    says okay….they can drill.

    What ever happen to the Gouvernment of the people, by the people and for the people?

    How, and why, do politicians have the “right” to sign away the rights of the people,
    (something that directly affects the general public),
    BEFORE the public, has any knowledge of the issue.

    Why does the press ONLY seem to give air-time to the PROS, not the NEGATIVES of gas drilling?

    Our politicians have taken over, supporting ONLY big business…..

    The magnificent natural forests and mountains of PA have been sold down the river….they forests
    and roads AND rivers are being destroyed. The wildlife is disappearing, the WATER and AIR and GROUND
    are being contaminated with cancer causing agents. Have your heard of Damascus PA? DO you know about the
    contaminated drinking water in Bradford County? The entire heard of cows, that died in Wellsboro PA, due to contaminated
    water, caused by gas well drilling, fracking process?
    Do you know the gas companies, try to tell us that most of the time, these things are caused by “natural” occurances, not the drilling?

    WE “THE PEOPLE” are, and have been, treated like idiots.

    The econmy is NO BETTER in any of the drilling areas. Most of the JOBS were given to folks from out-of-state
    that came with the gas companies.

    Our way of life, has been changed forever, for the good of a few LARGE companies, a few of the greedy and for fuel.

    AND…the entire state of PA and much of NJ, DE, WV and many more, are now at HIGH RISK,
    for non-drinkable water, and mulitple other problems of contamination.

    I am CERTAIN that, “WE ThE PEOPLE”, if we had been given a choice, we would vote for WIND & SOLAR & other alternate
    energy sources, that WE would say NO to drilling, AND WE would tighten our belts, and rise to the occassion, as WE the GREAT PEOPLE of the US have ALWAYS DONE……and would say NO, to funding a way of life, for the few, the elite, the greedy, of our nation.

  • Who are you voting for in the PA Supreme Court race?

    • Dan McCaffery (61%)
    • Carolyn Carluccio (37%)
    • Still undecided (2%)

    Total Voters: 344

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