To the Editor:

Over many decades, Pennsylvania has made progress cleaning up its rivers and streams from industry pollutants. Rather than continuing the progress in protecting the environment for our families, it seems legislators in Harrisburg now have other ideas.

House Bill 2154 (HB 2154) makes me angry, and it’s one that our current state representative, Marcy Toepel, voted “yes” on in June of this year. HB 2154 amends oil and gas drilling regulations. Some of the changes included in this bill: 1) Repeals the requirement for oil and gas drillers to maintain the minimum standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (Sec. 904); 2) Prohibits local governments from imposing ordinances on the same features of oil and gas operations that are regulated by this bill (Sec. 902); 3) Authorizes the spread of toxic production brines on unpaved roads for dust control (Sec 104); 4) Repeals the requirement for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to review a well’s impact on public resources like parks and historical sites before issuing a drilling permit (Sec. 702).

This bill is an egregious affront to all Pennsylvanians and puts the health of all of us at risk. Poisoned water flows downstream. Whereas drilling and fracking operations occur outside Montgomery County, water pollution is everyone’s concern. When legislators are beholden to these companies for big donations, they cannot serve the people of Pennsylvania.

Water quality is a very important issue in our area where individual wells supply much of our drinking water. Western Montgomery County is a critical part of the Schuylkill River watershed and includes Green Lane Reservoir and the Perkiomen, Skippack, and Swamp creeks — all in direct assault by Rep. Toepel’s vote on HB 2154. This is reason enough for me not to support her re-election.

— Jill Erb, Upper Salford

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