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Peters Home Rule Amendment Question Reaches Washington County Elections Office

The elections office now begins work on preparing the Marcellus Shale question for presentation to Peters voters.

With the filing of a petition to add an amendment to the Peters Township Home Rule Charter on the general election ballots Nov. 8, the Washington County Elections Office said a number of processes will take place to prepare the question that will go before the electorate.

Peters Township Marcellus Shale Awareness & Action filed the on Monday, one day before the filing deadline of Aug. 9.

Based on the formula that requires 10 percent of those who voted in the last election for the governor, the Marcellus Shale awareness group needed approximately 900 voters to have the question placed on the ballot.

County Elections Director Larry Spahr said the list of more than 2,000 names “would make it very difficult for someone to challenge the petitions on the basis of signatures.”

As filed, wording on the ballot question as proposed, would be:

“Should the Peters Township Home Rule Charter be amended to add Section 1.04 ‘The Peters Township Bill of Rights,’ which enumerates the right to water, the rights of natural communities, the right to a sustainable energy future, and the right to self-government; and which secures those rights by banning corporate gas extraction within the township and subordinating corporate rights to the rights of Peters Township residents?”

According to the elections office, a “yes” vote would indicate approval by the voter and a majority of “yes” votes would cause the proposed amendment to be included as part of the Peters Township Home Rule Charter.

A “no” vote would indicate disapproval by the voter and a majority of “no” votes would cause the proposed amendment to be rejected, and the Peters Township Home Rule Charter would remain unchanged.

Under the regulations of the ballot question, Peters Township and the Washington County Board of Elections are required to advertise the question once per week for three consecutive weeks, 30 days prior to the election, and a copy of the notice must be posted in Peters Township polling places on election day.

The county Board of Elections must also include the question in its official election notice.

As submitted by Marcellus Shale Awareness & Action, the amendment explaining the Bill of Rights is extensive, and according to Spahr will have to be written in plain English for it to be readily understood by all voters.

“(The amendment) will be written by county solicitors and will explain each of the (rights),” Spahr said.

According to the requirements, the explanation will indicate the purpose, limitations and effects of the ballot question to the people.

The statement is to be included in the notice of the election and three copies are to be posted at each polling place.

As of late Tuesday there were no challenges filed to the petitions presented Monday by MSAA.

The group has joined forces with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund to place the question on the ballots.

The question is similar to one that will be placed on the ballots in the City of Pittsburgh, which was also supported by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.

Read more from Monday's council meeting, including council's 5-0 vote in favor of the amendments made to the the proposed-conditional use ordinance governing Marcellus Shale drilling, .

joe August 23, 2011 at 11:21 AM
Suzanne; Thanks for the info on ptmsa, I dont know of anyone that admits to being a member,except for the 4 that always try and steal the camera time at the twp.meetings.I have investigated natural gas powered cars, refueling by a simple home type device can take hours ,but not at a fueling station. Our legislators need to help us on this one... One other item we all seem to over look. These Gas co are here for the next 50 yrs or more. they have spent a large sum of money. they may take 20 yrs to get under PT. Im sure as a twp we will not have tryed to work with them even in that amount of time. And as far as pt and natural gas powered vehicles no forward thinkers there.covered it personally with them months ago. they need help from the state on this one also.
Deborah Miller-Gurchak August 23, 2011 at 09:55 PM
For information on energy - go to The Center for American Progress- Energy and Environment. I think you will find some great information.
suzanne kennedy August 24, 2011 at 02:46 AM
Thanks Deborah! I will check out the website tomorrow. I do like the way this blog has morphed from specific comments about the PTMSA charter ban amendment going on the November ballot, to issues involving energy use, conservation, exporting gas overseas, etc..........as all of these issues are involved, one way or another, with the general issue of Marcellus Shale drilling. I think this article has generated the most comments (120!) than any other articles in Peters Patch since it started in January 2011. Definitely a hot button topic around these parts!
Andrea Bosco August 24, 2011 at 10:30 AM
Hi Suzanne, thanks for your comments. Just to be clear to our readers, we are a news site, and launched Nov. 31, 2010. I'm glad you're enjoying the site—keep reading!
Roger August 24, 2011 at 01:06 PM
Just to be clear, the site Debbie suggested promotes a left-wing position. The site is straight forward in their terminology about being "progressive." While the site may have articles associated with the topic, their position stands on the left side.

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