An open letter opposing PSATS’ endorsement of Marcellus bills HB1950 and SB1100

Dec 14, 2011 – No response or acknowledgement from either gentleman.  I had also copied this to my own municipal elected leaders.  No response or acknowledgement from any of them either.

The attached is an ad opposing SB1100 and HB 1950.  Both include pathetic bonding levels and their remaining stripping of local control.  The artist who created this has offered it free to anyone who wants to edit it in anyway and display it anywhere.  Thank you for your what you can do to protect local control.

Sent Dec 4, 2011 to;

Dear PSATS’ Director David Sanko and Assistant Director Elam Herr:

I am a municipal engineer and municipal reporter by profession, as well as a candidate for my own local government. I copy my local municipal officials and local newspapers (The Sun, The Lebanon Daily News and Patriot-News) on this. It is to be considered by all an open letter, which I will published to my website, unedited. I welcome your reply as such, and will publish your response unedited, should you choose to offer one.

I have long respected PSATS’ protection of local control, and cited your active leadership in my August 19, 2010 Sun article about local opposition to SB1357 and HB2431:

I am, however, disappointed that PSATS endorsed HB1950 and SB1100. As one might have expected, PA legislators who voted for these bills are now using PSATS’ well-respected reputation as an endorsement of their votes. This cheapens PSATS’ name, by association. And to what benefit to your members?

I continue to oppose these bills that will weaken municipalities’ abilities to control Marcellus drilling through their ordinances. The language in Section 3272 of HB1950 and SB1100 are similar: “all local ordinances and enactments purporting to regulate oil and gas well operations regulated by this chapter are superseded by this chapter.” Both gut our control of our land use.

I also continue to oppose these bills because they will weaken local communities’ abilities to hold O&G interests liable for their actions within our borders. Section 3225 of HB1950 is only slightly better for We The People than SB1100: “For operating more than 250 wells, $100,000 plus $4,000 per well for each well in excess of 250 wells; but no bond may be required under this clause in excess of $250,000.” But both are grossly inadequate to protect local government coffers. As a professional consultants, I know that between $5,000 won’t buy lunch for the engineers and lawyers during the months needed to argue about liability in the event of a mishap. This paltry amount will, of course, leave nothing to then mitigate the mishap.

As HB1950 and SB1100 wind their ways through reconciliation unto Governor Corbett’s desk, please reconsider lending PSATS’ name to HB1950 and SB1100. Both will weaken local government, and leave it vulnerable to unfunded and unjustified expenses.

Thank you for your consideration.


6 Responses to An open letter opposing PSATS’ endorsement of Marcellus bills HB1950 and SB1100

  1. Ron Slabe says:

    Excellent letter, Steve. Thank you so much.


    • steventodd says:

      Thank you, Ron. Someone’s got to watch for We The People, and it doesn’t seem to be our elected officials. Take care.


    • Rich Goldman says:

      Hello Ron

      I have been following your effective petition drive regarding bills HB 1950 adn SB1100. Our newly founded Pennsylvania Homeowners Association is very much opposed to these bills as they are counterproductive to our mission, protecting home and property values of Pennsylvanians. Please visit our site,, for a more in depth look at our platform. I would appreciate getting an opportunity to discuss this and other related issues with you. Thank you.


      • steventodd says:

        I have signed your petition, Rich. I added my municipality, county and state. You should really ask for at least that, it carries much more weight with elected officials to see how many of the signers are constituents. Best luck forward.


  2. Al Wright says:

    Steve, let’s face it. PSATS got bought off by the big guys plain and simple. No other reason for PSATs to role over and play dead on this issue. Peace. ALW


    • steventodd says:

      I don’t know what to think, Al. PSATS’ entire reason to exist is to fight for local self govt. Both bills weaken that, and leave Twps vulnerable to financial liability in the event of a catastrophy.


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