Another so-called legal win for environmentalists, this time in the state of Pennsylvania. There greens were able to successfully have the state’s highest court rule that money generated from oil and gas fracking in state forests had to go to land and natural resource preservation.
According to NBC10, the decision comes after much controversy surrounding Pennsylvania issuing permits for hydraulic fracturing. Here is the most ominous outcome, according to a lawyer for the environmentalist groups who brought the suit, the state’s supreme court has simultaneously decided that environmental rights are equal with other constitutional rights like property rights and free speech.
Back in 2013, the PA supreme court struck down a state law restricting cities and towns’ abilities to dictate where oil and gas companies who use fracturing could operate. The court cited a constitutional amendment passed in 1971 to require that the state act as a trustee, and not a proprietor, of public natural resources.
This recent decision, allegedly strengthens the amendment’s application in terms of not only court cases but also local government decisions. It won’t just affect policies regarding fracking but also economic development on Pennsylvania state lands since now city sand county councils will have to assess impact to public lands, wildlife, groundwater, rivers and air quality. The effect of grinding development and even oil and natural gas fracking in the state to a halt.
The defendants are reviewing the impact of the ruling and one trade group, the Marcellus Shale Coalition, views it as nothing more than a decision regarding the use of revenue generated from drilling in state forests. Hopefully, they are right. However, what is of concern is that now the state may not be able to gain some sort of financial benefit from fracking on state lands. Pennsylvania government was able to draw from revenue from fracking to help its finances but now may no longer be able to. Consequently, the state may have little incentive to issue drilling permits for drilling on state lands and that is obviously the whole point of the lawsuit.
If the result of the Pennsylvania supreme court decision is as far reaching as it is being pitched, the result will be similar to what happened in New York State’s southern tier. That region sought to fold into Pennsylvania since their communities have been devastated by New York’s fracking ban. Now Pennsylvania’s fracking policy could end up no different than New York’s.
This is what environmentalism is all about. It is to destroy any and all human activities that benefit mankind in some way using environmental protection as the window dressing to mask their true intent. Remember, environmentalists are like watermelons: green on the outside, red on the inside.