At its meeting Wednesday evening, the Kidder Township Environmental Advisory Commission (EAC) discussed the issue of Act 13, which has been an ongoing concern for the EAC, and possibly for many municipalities in the commonwealth.
Passed into law in February of this year, Act 13 contains provisions that preempt the rights of municipalities to use zoning ordinances to place limits on gas and oil companies for the safety of its citizens.
In July the commonwealth court struck down the preemptive clause as being unconstitutional. The EAC is taking a wait-and-see approach before taking any action at this time. An appeal is being taken from the commonwealth court's decision. The Supreme Court will ultimately decide on the constitutionality of the provision.
Also on the agenda for the EAC was a discussion of the multiuse trails. The proposed trails would tie Hickory Run State Park and Lehigh Valley Gorge State Park together with other areas in the township. Bob Dobash, township codes official, who sits on the EAC, stated that there are many factors that need to be considered before they can proceed with the trails and that the plan is "very much dependent on funding which just doesn't exist right now."
Lastly, Hank George addressed the concerns regarding the dwindling bat population in the area. Used to seeing bats as a regular part of summer, George claimed to have only seen one live bat this summer. George explained why bats are important.
"A bat, on average, eats 1,000 insects per day. You lose bats and the insect population increases. We will lose the natural control over insects."
George plans to take time over the next couple of months to draft a newsletter explaining the importance of bats, so that people might learn to appreciate and not fear them.