I’m traveling far from home this month, but wares to share the letter I just wrote to Jim Ferli and Randy Vulakovich in hopes that some of you will be similarly inspired:
Dear Mr. Vulakovich:
I think the subject of this note makes it clear, but I hope you’ll excuse me for reiterating for emphasis: please do not vote in favor of HB 1950. Yes, jobs are important, but this bill puts jobs and money ahead of the physical welfare of residents. This bill disenfranchises residents in the most rudimentary way: it takes away the ability of people who live in a particular area with specific geographical and sociological characteristics to control the quality of life of their community. I can’t imagine why you (or any legislator) would want to put his constituents in that position. Without control over quality of life issues, there really is no point to an improved economy since we would be unable to enjoy it.
To say that the world is watching how Pennsylvania handles this issue is no exaggeration. I am currently visiting Australia, where similar issues have arisen surrounding the extraction of coal gas from geological formations. Australians are keenly interested in what is happening in Pennsylvania, and looking to learn both from our successes and our mistakes.
“Economic efficiency” for corporations is no reason to strip local residents of their ability to regulate the quality of life in their communities. We can live without gas drilling being regulated by State fiat in our communities, but if this bill passes, I fear that many of us will lose our reason for living in the places we have chosen. I certainly hope that you will be part of a majority that sets an example for the world by placing the security of your constituents’ quality of life as your top priority no matter how loud the deceptive siren call for economic activity.