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Put the brakes on bad fracking bills


November 16, 2019 Letters to the Editor

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Our state legislators are trying to push through a manure pile of bad fracking bills.

The bad bills are not limited to bills pushed by Republicans — it’s a bipartisan assault on our future.

Worst of all, these bills are being fast-tracked on the heels of an explosive Pittsburgh Post-Gazette investigation that found 67 rare childhood cancers in four heavily fracked counties in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The cancer epidemic coincides with the fracking boom in those counties.

The state Department of Health (DOH) recently held a public meeting in one of the impacted communities in Washington County.

The meeting was a misadventure — the DOH couldn’t even bring itself to utter the word fracking (maybe because two fracking fanboys — representatives O’Neal and Ortitay were sitting in the front row?) and readily admitted the data they relied upon was incomplete.

To his credit, at that meeting, O’Neal said, “I believe we should investigate fracking to figure out what’s going on … and I can tell you that Jason (Ortitay) and I at the state level are working tirelessly to not only bring state funding to figuring out what’s going on but we’re also advocating at the federal to do the same thing.”

That sentiment would be laudable if O’Neal and Ortitay weren’t on board with some of the bad bills. The wall of shame is not only “red.” Some of the manure comes from the “blue” side of the barn. Gov. Wolf and the Democrats, too, are willing to look the other way to protect the murderous industry.

Wolf’s Restore Pennsylvania and the equally smelly Republican counter proposal Energize Pennsylvania subsidize and turn a blind eye to fracking’s consequences while locking it in for decades.

SB866, with several “blue” co-sponsors and SB790 either subsidizes the poisoning or flat out allows the industry to dump waste on our roadways. SB887 would criminalize protest.

It’s time to clean out the barn, but I’m not talking about the manure. Our legislators are playing a dangerous game (one local legislator told me concern about cancer was overblown — he was “pro-business”). Call them. Tell them to say no to fracking, no to cancer clusters, no to attempts to silence us.

Michael Bagdes-Canning, Cherry Valley

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