Notes from the 7/7/15 Briefing at Newtown Friends Meeting
“Attorney Matt McHugh of Grim, Biehn and Thatcher in Perkasie said the ordinance [to create an gas & oil fracking zone in Wrightstown, Newtown Township and Upper Makefield] will likely be voted on by all three governing bodies in the next month or two.” (front page news, Bucks County Courier Times 7/7/15)
Tonight 70 people gathered at the Newtown Quaker Meeting to hear about this proposed ordinance. Some key points emerged:
- Outrage that no public comment has been invited
- FHA lending guidelines prohibit financing for homes within 300 feet of a property with “an active or planned drilling site;” homeowner’s insurance mandated by lenders may exclude properties with a gas lease or a gas well; mortgages can be denied because of drilling on a neighbor’s property
- Most of the water in Lower Bucks County is drawn from aquifers, which once contaminated by fracking fluid leaks, spills, overflows or surface runoff can never be recovered. As one woman said, “You can get energy from other sources, but you can’t live without water. Our property [in Wrightstown] would be worthless.”
- The average water use for a single fracking well is 4.4 million gallons, only 15% of which is recycled fracking fluid
- Spent fracking wells continue to degrade and leach forever
- Oil and gas jobs and money are boom-and-bust, but the costs to the community last forever.
- There is no reason for urgency in passing an ordinance. Most of Bucks County is already covered under the Delaware River Basin Moratorium until January 1, 2018. There’s no pressure to act in haste on the proposed ordinance.
After the meeting at the Newtown Quaker Meeting, about 100 people attended the Newtown Township Planning Board meeting. At the end of the public comment period, the Chairperson urged us to communicate with the Township Supervisors who have the power to make the final decision.
- Come to the Newtown Township Supervisor’s Meeting on , July 8 at 7:30pm and voice your opinion
- Can’t attend? Make a phone call (215-968-2800 ext. 8, then ext. 3 to speak with Olivia Kivenko, Administrative Assistant to the Town Manager) or write a short, handwritten note to Newtown Township Supervisors, 100 Municipal Drive, Newtown, PA 18940 and say we want at least a one-year study period with public participation before any gas & oil drilling ordinance is considered for a vote
- Attend, write, call the Wrightstown Supervisors (meetings on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of every month at 7:30pm, 2203 Second Street Pike). Ask Wrightstown to withdraw their request for an ordinance to create a gas and oil drilling zone.
Check the coverage in the Bucks Courier-Times (you may need to subscribe ($1 promo), to see the whole article.)