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Legislation assaults community character

January 26, 2012

Pike County is the jewel of Pennsylvania. For decades people from nearby urban centers have flocked to this area for recreation and to relocate here. They are attracted to the high quality of life enjoyed, being surrounded by such natural beauty and quaint communities.

Incredibly, powerful corporate and governmental forces in Harrisburg, through legislative overreach, are about to dismantle forever what it took nature and responsible citizens generations to achieve. The offensive legislation that can do this irreparable damage is the part of PA Impact Fee Bill (HR1950 and SR1100) that mandates gas drilling must be permitted in every local zone—even residential ones—or else a town will not receive impact fees to mitigate the damage caused by drilling.

This legislation in effect strips local municipal/borough governments of their long-standing zoning power to direct growth in a positive direction. Local citizens would have no say if gas wells or any support systems like compression stations or pipelines were put in community valued areas.

We must stop this assault on our community rights to clean water, clean air, due process and local land use. We have the right to protect our community from nuisances like excessive noise and light 24/7. We have a right to safe, functional roads and protection of our property values.

We, the local people, must stand our moral ground and demand our local self-determination rights from our local state representatives: Senator Baker and house representatives Peifer and Brown. All three voted for and advocate the disgraceful language of this legislation.

With the recent finding by the EPA scientifically linking fracking to aquifer contamination, plus its newly released concerns about radioactive materials in gas-drilling wastewater, it is prudent to pause and rationally discuss our collective future. We must not dishonor the efforts of past generations who through civic pride and reverence for nature fought for the community and land we cherish.

Vito Dibiasi
Dingman Township, PA