CELDF

Press Release: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Attacks 4-Year-Old Community Water Protection Law

The local law is currently protecting Grant Township’s drinking water source from toxic hydraulic fracking waste injections.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Chad Nicholson,
Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund
Pennsylvania Community Organizer
CELDF.org
chad@celdf.org
207-541-3649

PITTSBURGH, PA: A week ago, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) presented arguments to overturn a community ban on frack waste injection wells in Grant Township, Pennsylvania.

Frack waste injection wells are known to introduce radioactive waste and earthquakes. This has led injection wells to be shut down in states including Ohio, Oklahoma, and California. The DEP admits that it does not know what is in the frack waste, and yet still sued Grant Township.

Once more, with emphasis: the state DEP is suing Grant Township for protecting its environment.

The people of Grant Township popularly enacted a Home Rule Charter in 2015 to ban injection wells and protect the community’s rights. The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) assisted with the drafting of the Charter.

Attorney Karen Hoffmann, representing Grant Township, said, “The people of Grant Township enacted a Home Rule Charter to protect their health, safety, and right to clean air and water. Evidence is mounting that DEP is failing in its duty to protect the environment, not just in Grant, but across Pennsylvania.”

Residents from Grant, and across the region, including from Ohio, New Jersey, and Tennessee, packed a courthouse in Pittsburgh for the hearing last week. Representatives from more than 20 community groups were present to support Grant Township and its community members, and to illustrate that the township’s fight is about something larger than injection wells.

“The very best part of the morning was when 80 percent of the courtroom left after our case was heard. People and groups all over Pennsylvania, Ohio, and the region are on our side — indicating that a right to local self government is something that’s wanted and needed by PEOPLE everywhere,” said Stacy Wanchisn Long, a Grant Township Supervisor. “And today, there is no injection well in Grant Township.”

On Sept. 17, 2019, a proposed amendment to the Pennsylvania constitution was introduced into the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. This “Local Self-Government Amendment” (HB 1813) would secure powers for local governments to ban harmful activities such as injection wells.

About CELDF — Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund 

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) is building a movement for Community Rights and the Rights of Nature to advance democratic, economic, social, and environmental rights – building upward from the grassroots to the state, federal, and international level.

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