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OPINION

LETTER: Legislators should protect communities

Pennsylvania

The oil and gas industry's grand designs on Pennsylvania show no signs of abating. Drilling continues even as renewable energy appears the better bargain for people and the planet. Pipelines threaten to crisscross our backyards so that we can ship our natural resources overseas. In the midst of all this, what is being denied to Pennsylvanians is our right to clean air and pure water as promised in our Pennsylvania constitution.

This April 1, 2016, photo shows the top of a shale gas drilling rig in Washington, Pa. Only 17 rigs are actively exploring in Pennsylvania, down from a high of 115 in 2011 and the fewest since December 2007, amid a prolonged industry slump. (Michael Rubinkam)

The state Department of Environmental Protection has been working diligently for five years to update rules for the oil and gas industry. This process is nearly complete and the necessary, reasonable rules that would result will protect us from the harms of this inherently industrial activity. Yet, legislators in Harrisburg appear more interested in doing the bidding of industry as they passed bills and resolutions over the past week that would halt the rules designed for conventional oil and gas drilling.

The instances of drillers fouling our water, air and land are well documented. These new rules are sensible and much needed and we can't afford to wait - nor should politicians cater to an industry that is staunchly opposed to prudent oversight. I urge Senator Vance to uphold the will of the people who simply want and expect our legislators to do their utmost to protect families and communities in Pennsylvania.

MARGEE KOOISTRA

Mechanicsburg, Pa.