FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Mike Sturla
Chairman, Democratic Policy Committee
HDPC continues exploration of Marcellus Shale issues
BETHLEHEM, May 12 – The House Democratic Policy Committee held a public hearing today at the city of Bethlehem’s Town Hall to continue its exploration of Marcellus Shale issues, according to Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster.
State Reps. Bob Freeman, D-Northampton; Steve Samuelson, D-Lehigh/Northampton; and Joe Brennan, D-Lehigh/Northampton, requested the hearing.
Sturla said, "I applaud these legislators for their desire to educate their communities on the benefits and risks of the state's growing Marcellus Shale industry. While the Lehigh Valley may not see the heavy truck traffic and drill sites that other parts of the state do, there most certainly is an impact on water quality in every community across the state regardless of location."
Freeman added, "While Marcellus Shale drilling is a growing industry in Pennsylvania, there are serious concerns that need to be addressed in order to protect Pennsylvania’s environment. We need better regulations and oversight of the drilling process and we need to impose a severance tax on the drillers, like other states do. They are going to reap significant profits from a Pennsylvania natural resource and the people of Pennsylvania should be compensated to deal with local impacts from the drilling, environmental needs and revenue needs to reduce the severe cuts in education and human services being proposed by the governor."
Samuelson said, “Today’s testifiers provided valuable input on a variety of Marcellus Shale issues. The need for an extraction tax continues to be clear for the sake of our environment and to address the impact drilling has on our communities. This additional revenue also could help lessen the impact of harmful state budget cuts that have been proposed by the governor.”
Brennan added, “As natural gas drilling forges on in Pennsylvania, this was an opportunity for the residents of the Lehigh Valley to join in the discussion. The legislature has a lot to look at in terms of managing the Marcellus Shale, and I’m excited to be a part of a forum where our constituents’ voices can be heard.”
Testifiers at the hearing included: Tom Aristide, attorney; Matt MacConnell, vice chairman, Lehigh Valley Sierra Club; Cathy Frakenberg, program organizer, Clean Water Action; Erika Staaf, clean water advocate, PennEnvironment; Douglas Hill, executive director, County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania; Michael Wood, research director, Pa. Budget and Policy Center; Olivia Thorne, president, League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania; and Chris Miller, member, SEIU Workers United.
For more information about the Policy Committee and hearing materials, visit www.pahouse.com/PolicyCommittee.