"Symbolic is the first step," Jones said Wednesday. He expects the resolution to pass unanimously.
Initially, Jones had wanted to prohibit the city-owned gas utility, Philadelphia Gas Works, from buying any gas derived from the Marcellus. But PGW and the Philadelphia Gas Commission said such a ban would put the utility into conflict with state laws, which oblige PGW to buy the lowest-cost fuel on behalf of its customers.
So the resolution was amended to ban Marcellus gas "so long as it is responsible and is consistent with the least-cost fuel procurement requirement of state law."
For the time being, it's a moot point: PGW buys its natural gas from sources on the Gulf Coast, not the Marcellus Shale region.
The resolution urges the state to ban gas drilling in the Delaware basin until a federal study is completed in 2012 of the gas-extraction technique called hydraulic fracturing.
Jones said he was not persuaded by the industry's arguments that shale-gas development is an economic boost to Pennsylvania, has driven down natural-gas costs, and provides an alternative to imported oil.
"Sure, I want to reduce our dependence on foreign oil," he said, "but I don't want to do it at the expense of clean water."
Despite testimony at the September hearing that a number of Philadelphia firms are getting shale-related work, Jones said he saw no economic benefit to the city from the Marcellus.
"If they can point to 10 jobs here that they've created other than lobbyists, I'd like to hear it," he said.
Kathryn Klaber, head of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry group, complained that a report Jones' Council committee wrote on shale-gas development reflected mostly an anti-drilling perspective.
"There is an entire energy economy, a clean-energy strategy around natural-gas development, that is absent from this report," she said.
Contact staff writer Andrew Maykuth at 215-854-2947 or firstname.lastname@example.org.