Pittsburgh City Councilman Doug Shields today plans to unveil legislation to ban natural gas drilling in the city, saying he’s wants to test a municipality’s right to self-government, even if that means inviting a legal challenge from the drilling industry.
“Why can’t we say no? Why is it that local authorities, the local government, can’t make that determination?” Mr. Shields said.
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl also opposes a ban, in part because drilling would create jobs, tax revenue for the state and spinoff revenue — such as earned-income tax — for the financially strapped city, his spokeswoman, Joanna Doven said. At the same time, she said, Mr. Ravenstahl understands concerns about potential hazards.
“What the mayor is focusing on is balancing the two,” she said, noting the city is “going to prepare for any possible” pollution, well fires or other risks.