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Hear from parents north of Pittsburgh who are protesting fracking near their children’s schools. Read our news feature at right.


Gun homicides in Pittsburgh this summer have doubled within the last week. See a map of where they happened and follow our Summer Gun-Homicide Report at

This week: Record-breaking dogs, a street fair for a good cause, and thousands of screaming 1D fans. #CPWeekend podcast goes live every Thursday at



This week’s #CPReaderArt is a great photo from the fountain at Point State Park by @pittsburghinpictures. Tag your photos of the city as #CPReaderArt, and we just may re-gram you! Download our free app for a chance to win $100 gift certificate to any Big Y Group Restaurant. Contest ends July 30.


Parents rally in front of the Mars Area School District campus, where unconventional natural gas drilling development could take place less than a mile away.


N A HOT afternoon along a backedup, rush-hour-plagued two-lane road, parents rally in the front yard of a school, holding cardboard cut-outs of children that bear written phrases like “Don’t Frack My Future.” Some drivers honk in approval, while others yell “Frack, baby, frack.” But those parents standing along Route 228 are outraged that there’s unconventional natural gas drilling — or “fracking” — just about a half mile from their kids’ schools. “It should not be around schools, or residents, or farmland; I mean, it’s ridiculous, it’s industrial,” says Laurel Colonello, of Middlesex Township, where the contentious well pad is located. The Mars Area School District school campus, where 3,200 students attend, is in Adams Township, just over the border. One building straddles the line. Colonello, who wore a T-shirt reading “Keep Our Children Safe,” attended the rally, about 25 miles north of Pittsburgh, with her son and grandchildren, who will be the

third generation of her family to go there. Colonello made it clear: She’s against “fracking.” But, her sentiment about where natural-gas development does and does not belong is reverberating throughout this small Butler County community, and is the focus of a lawsuit that could set a statewide legal precedent.

Lawsuit over fracking near schools in Mars School District could have statewide legal impact {BY ASHLEY MURRAY} HYDRAULIC FRACTURING involves pumping water, sand and friction-reducing chemicals into the ground to break up rock formations and access natural gas. As the technology developed, the state government, under the Corbett administration, enacted its landmark oil and gas law, known as Act 13, in 2012. The law preempted municipal

zoning on these activities, among other controversial measures. The law also set impact fees — paid by energy companies to local governments for every well drilled to offset possible costs caused by the activity. (More than 8,000 unconventional wells have been drilled, producing nearly $ 850 million in impact fees.) Philadelphia-based environmental advocacy organization Delaware Riverkeeper Network and several municipalities challenged those zoning restrictions. The group invoked Pennsylvania’s 1970 Environmental Rights Amendment, which states that residents have a “right to clean air, pure water and to the preservation of the … natural environment.” The case wound up in the state Supreme Court, where municipalities won, partially. “Some of the old restrictions on municipalities still apply. You still may not ... pick a spot and say, ‘No drilling there,’” says Bruce Ledewitz, a law professor at Duquesne University. “Not every bit of it was CONTINUES ON PG. 08


PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER 07.29/08.05.2015

Profile for Pittsburgh City Paper

July 29, 2015  

Pittsburgh City Paper Volume 25 Issue 30

July 29, 2015  

Pittsburgh City Paper Volume 25 Issue 30