CONTACT: Ben Price, (717) 254-3233
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Tuesday, May 10, 2011) The Borough Council of West Homestead, Pennsylvania, unanimously adopted an ordinance that enacts a Local Bill of Rights, along with a prohibition on natural gas extraction to protect those rights. The bill, titled “West Homestead Borough’s Community Protection from Natural Gas Extraction Ordinance; establishes specific rights of West Homestead residents, including the Right to Water, the Rights of Natural Communities, the Right to a Sustainable Energy Future, and the Right to Community Self-Government.
The Ordinance was drafted in consultation with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.
The key prohibition enacted to protect the rights enumerated states: “It shall be unlawful for any corporation to engage in the extraction of natural gas within West Homestead Borough, with the exception of gas wells installed and operating at the time of enactment of this Ordinance, provided that the extraction of gas from those existing wells does not involve any practice or process not previously used for the extraction of gas from those wells.”
The bill was modeled after the Ordinance adopted on November 16th of last year by the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and drafted by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. A similar ordinance was enacted by Licking Township in Clarion County, Pennsylvania and in Mountain Lake Park, Maryland on March 6th of this year.
Mayor John Dindak of West Homestead said “This is the right thing to do. I hope Governor Corbett gives more thought to what is being done.”
The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, headquartered in Chambersburg, has been working with people in Pennsylvania since 1995 to assert their fundamental rights to democratic local self-governance, and to enact laws which end destructive and rights-denying corporate action aided and abetted by state and federal governments.