Green Party of Philadelphia (GPOP, www.gpop.org) leaders have endorsed the resolution by Philadelphia’s City Council calling for a moratorium on gas drilling in the Delaware River Basin. This resolution is scheduled for a vote in Council on Thursday, January 27.
The proposed City Council resolution follows a hearing on September 28, and it reads, “Council hereby establishes its moral responsibility to actively prevent future pollution and ecological destruction rather than waiting until it occurs and then attempting to undo the damage.” From this perspective, City Council will call for a moratorium on drilling for gas “until both the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) hydraulic fracturing risks study and the cumulative impact studies specific to the Delaware River Basin are completed.”
Once these scientific studies are assessed and debated, the proposed resolution asserts: “The City of Philadelphia will determine whether it is advisable to call for the entire Delaware River Basin to be kept off limits to [fracking], due to the potential for catastrophic risk [and] potential costs . . .”
Philadelphia’s Green Party leaders voted to endorse the proposed City Council Resolution, Belinda Davis, acting GPOP treasurer, who attended Council’s hearing in September, hailed the moratorium on fracking. She urged Council “to reinforce their important ban in their vote on additional recommendations. My children’s health and that of millions of others is in their hands.”
Other Green Party leaders were less enthusiastic. Carol McLean, acting GPOP membership secretary said, “On November 16, 2010, Pittsburgh’s City Council not only banned fracking, but it also issued a new Bill of Rights for Pittsburgh residents, which included the right to water along with rights for ecosystems and nature. Pittsburgh’s Council then banned those activities, including gas extraction, which violate those rights. I think Philadelphia’s citizens should use our municipal government to demand an end to all activities and policies that are harmful to our communities and the natural environment upon which our lives depend.”
Some Green Party leaders here say the Philadelphia Council resolution shows progress, while warning that this belated resolution does not go nearly far enough. Chris Robinson, Green Party organizer in Germantown, said, “Philadelphia should have acted years ago. The Green Party has been lobbying for Council to take action on gas drilling since 2008.”
Robinson was referring to a statement dated October 2008, which said the Green Party “believes that despite the apparent short-term economic benefits, Marcellus Shale gas drilling will have a net negative economic and environmental impact for Pennsylvania.” The Green Party then called for “termination and prohibition of all gas drilling involving the use of chemical additives or fracking in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
“Again the Green Party is ahead of the curve on issues that impact working people,” said Hugh Giordano, Green Party organizer in Roxborough. “For two years, the Green Party has been saying that we don’t need gas drilling. We need conservation and renewable energy like solar and wind. These energy sources are healthier, and they will create good-paying jobs for Philadelphia residents.”
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