In a maneuver rendered purely symbolic by the party's minority status in the state's legislature, a group of Pennsylvania Democrats recently approved a resolution calling for an end to hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in the state.
The resolution, approved by a 115-81 vote at a state Democratic Committee meeting in Lancaster, PA, June 15, declares that "the Democratic Party of Pennsylvania supports a moratorium on the practice of hydraulic fracturing until such time as the practice can be done safely, and further supports requiring full restitution by the natural gas industry for any harm to human life and health, for damage to property, including loss of property value, for harm to water supplies, harm to wildlife, pets and livestock, and harm to the natural environment..."
Pennsylvania Democratic Committee Vice Chairwoman Penny Gerber was among those who opposed the resolution.
"Because no set period of time is provided, it truly is a ban on fracking, and this is a thriving industry. It is for that reason I cannot support this bill," Gerber said prior to the vote, according to PoliticsPA.com.
According to the resolution, "multiple scientific studies have documented pollution of the air, water and land caused by hydraulic fracturing in many Pennsylvania counties...citizens throughout the Commonwealth have suffered injury to their health and property as a result of poorly-regulated hydraulic fracturing," and flowback from fracking operations has overwhelmed wastewater treatment plants in western Pennsylvania. And the administration of Republican Gov. Tom Corbett has failed to adequately tax the industry or enforce environmental laws, according to the resolution.
The resolution isn't likely to have much impact in Harrisburg, where Republicans hold majorities in both the state House (111-92) and Senate (27-23).