US city’s fracking ban intensifies debate

Pittsburgh’s environmentally motivated move fails to convince nearby municipalities which face hard times.

The US oil industry’s main trade group is launching a campaign to promote energy production. But questions are being raised as to how much control residents have over their environment when pitted against the energy industry.

In 2011, the city of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania became the first American city to ban fracking, a process whereby water and chemicals are shot deep into the ground to extract gas and oil.

The ban on fracking was in part a result of outrage at the leasing of mineral rights on cemeteries within the city limits. But that has not stopped the municipalities surrounding Pittsburgh from collecting their drilling royalties.

Jim Ferlo, a senator who has introduced a bill for a moratorium on fracking while its impact is studied, says the lure of revenue in hard times is simply too much for Pennsylvania politicians to resist.

Al Jazeera’s Shihab Rattansi reports from Pittsburgh.

Source: Al Jazeera

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