Legislative Survey

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A constitutional amendment has been proposed in the Pennsylvania Senate that would ban hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in Pennsylvania.

Hydraulic fracturing/fracking is the process where natural gas and oil are extracted from the earth. After a well is drilled where the natural gas/oil is located, a mixture of water, sand, and chemicals is pumped into the well at extremely high pressures in order to create fissures in the shale rock. Natural gas/oil is then released through these fissures which then escapes to the surface. Once the natural gas/oil is collected, it is then processed, refined, and distributed to various shipping markets. 

Those that support a ban on hydraulic fracturing/fracking  argue that it would reduce water pollution. Though most of the water that is used in fracking is collected, some of it can escape into the environment which in turn could pollute reservoirs, lakes, and other bodies of water. Hydraulic fracturing is also a very loud process which may be a nuisance to the surrounding communities. Some also believe that by encouraging the development of Pennsylvania’s natural gas, it may discourage investments in other forms of energy such as renewables.

Those who oppose a ban argue that Pennsylvania should create more jobs here and extract natural gas from our massive supply to reduce our imports from overseas producers like Russia and provide this gas at cheaper prices for our consumers. Because natural gas emits less carbon dioxide, using this fuel is cleaner for the environment.  Representative Pam Snyder (D-Greene) recently said, “It sounds really nice when people say we’re going to do away with coal, we’re going to do away with gas. But we’re not going to bring you any replacement jobs, we’re not going to tell you how high your electric bills will go.”

Tell me your thoughts below: do you support the proposed constitutional amendment?

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