PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh City Council will soon look at new legislation aimed at regulating gas drilling in the city, and once again, the political debate is expected to be intense.

“I don’t think you can have a more simple-minded or corrosive position than this mayor’s position on Marcellus Shale,” said Pittsburgh City Councilman Patrick Dowd. “His only position over the last two and a half or so years has been remove the ban.”

The ban, passed by Council in 2010, is a ban on Marcellus Shale drilling throughout the city. But that could fall under the weight of a Supreme Court decision.

At the time it was passed, then-Councilman Doug Shields raised concerns about lease agreements at cemeteries.

However, supporters of drilling like former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge argued only the state should decide.

“You cannot maximize the advantage, the economic advantage, the sustainability – both economically and environmentally – if you have 2,500 people making decisions about wells,” said Ridge in 2010.

So, even though the city’s ban is still on the books, Councilman Dowd proposes mineral extraction districts with local zoning authority – as recent court decisions seem to favor.

“It basically guarantees that this kind of use will not take place in a residential zone,” he said.

Councilman Dowd’s legislation will be up for debate beginning later this month.

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