One Pittsburgh city councilman has a message for natural gas producers that would drill within his city's boundaries: You're not in Fort Worth, TX, anymore.

Pittsburgh City Councilman Doug Shields has drafted a bill to ban natural gas drilling within the city of Pittsburgh and he's calling it "Pittsburgh's Community Protection from Natural Gas Extraction Ordinance."

According to Shields, "commercial extraction of natural gas in the urban environment of Pittsburgh poses a significant threat to the health, safety and welfare of residents and neighborhoods within the city; and...widespread environmental and human health impacts have resulted from commercial gas extraction in other areas, and...environmental and economic sustainability cannot be achieved if the rights of municipal majorities are routinely overridden by corporate minorities..."

Pittsburgh, once a booming steel town, now relies more heavily on technology, health care and other non- or low-polluting industries to sustain its economy. Fort Worth and its surrounding area have seen significant drilling and gas infrastructure development as producers there have been tapping the Barnett Shale in recent years. However, the Fort Worth City Council has sought to regulate drilling and other gas-related activity rather than ban it outright (see Daily GPI, Dec. 16, 2008).

Last month Pittsburgh council members unanimously passed a resolution calling for a one-year moratorium on Marcellus Shale gas drilling in Pennsylvania. The resolution was in support of legislation introduced by state Sen. Jim Ferlo and drew the ire of the producer-backed Marcellus Shale Coalition (see Daily GPI, July 22).

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