HD-131: Deely Hits Simmons on Act 13 Support

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Keegan Gibson says Kevin Deely is trying to make an issue out of Justin Simmons’ vote for Act 13. Have at it, but it’s funny that there’s no shale gas under that district, as far as I know:

HD-131: Dem candidate Kevin Deely has called on Rep. Justin Simmons (R-Lehigh) to retract his support of Act 13, which allowed for the circumvention of local zoning ordinances in order to expand natural gas drilling (parts of the act were recently repealed). Deely said he’d spoken with frustrated constituents, who didn’t want their roads destroyed, water supply threatened or risk losing value in their homes. Deely added that he isn’t opposed to fracking, but that it should be done responsibly and with environmental protection in mind.

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3 Responses to HD-131: Deely Hits Simmons on Act 13 Support

  1. Jeff Schmidt says:

    Deeley has connected with constituents from Simmons’ district on a problem with Act 13 that many others are unaware: when Simmons voted in favor of Act 13, he voted to take away local government’s existing zoning authority to protect residents from all aspects of the natural gas industry. This includes the actual industrial drilling process, as well as associated infrastructure such as piplelines and compressor stations, which can be located anywhere in PA.

    While there may not currrently be any gas drilling activity in the Lehigh Valley, there could be in the future. But more importantly, the drillers want to run gas pipelines and compressor stations in residential zones, over the objections of local governments. These could be located in any community in the Lehigh valley, not just where actual drilling occurs.

    Simmons apparently opposed the right of local governments to protect their constituents from the dangers of the natural gas industry’s drilling and infrastructure. That is a direct assault on the rights of Lehigh Valley municipalities, as well as local governments statewide.

    Thankfully, Commonwealth Court overturned this unconstitutional provision of Act 13. It will be interesting to learn whether Simmons opposes this commonsense court decision.

    • Joyce Moore says:

      The real issue with Act 13 isn’t whether there’s shale gas in Pa-131, it’s whether it’s reasonable to overturn the local jurisdiction’s authority to zone their municipality. Clearly Act 13 was a major over-reach in the State’s authority, and I was stunned that Justin Simmons couldn’t recognize that.

      • Jon says:

        Would love to join in the Simmons bashing, but I think the state constitution is pretty clear that the state gives municipalities zoning powers, and can take them away. No such thing as inherent municipal zoning authority.