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Come to Pro-Moratorium Rally at Penn Treaty Park and Tell Governor Rendell to Protect Our Waters

October 25, 2010

What:  Come to Pro-Moratorium Rally on Tuesday October 26th
When: 2:15 PM
Where: Penn Treaty Park, Delaware and Frankford Avenues, Philadelphia
1199 N Delaware Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19125

Why:  Governor Rendell will be there to sign an executive order for a moratorium on further leasing of our state forests, having already leased away 700,000 acres.  His executive order will not stop any permits or any drilling, just prevent further leasing of state forest lands.  He is expected to talk about a severance tax, as well.

Let’s join our allies to celebrate this belated step in the right direction, AND

Let’s let him know we want a statewide moratorium until the Halliburton Loophole exemptions are lifted and until the EPA study is done; and, here in Philly, we demand he PROTECT OUR RIVER AND OUR PEOPLE:  NO DRBC RULEMAKING UNTIL AFTER A CUMULATIVE IMPACT STATEMENT IS COMPLETE FOR OUR WATERSHED.

On March 25th, Philadelphia City Council called for a ban on fracking in our watershed without an environmental impact statement, and we back them up.

On Sept. 30th, City Council called for a three-year statewide moratorium, and we back them up.

On Oct. 14th, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and Councilman Jones wrote the DRBC a letter calling for no rules to be issued until the cumulative impact study is done, and we back them up.

In simple terms:  Listen to Philly for a change:  No exemptions for gas drillers!  No study, no drill!

Background:  The Pennsylvania representative to the DRBC (Delaware River Basin Commission) votes according to Governor Rendell’s will.  If the Governor tells the PA Commissioner to the Delaware River Basin Commission to vote “no” on releasing rules for hydrofracking in our watershed prior to the cumulative impact study being done, the Commissioner would vote “no.”

That’s our demand: make the cumulative impact study come first, so that science guides policy.  (Just today, a new study warns of uranium from Marcellus Shale drilling harming streams and ecosystems.)

Time for science is not what the industry wants — they want policy to serve the cause of profit, and they don’t want any pesky scientific studies getting in the way with pesky facts about methane migration, habitat destruction, toxic chemicals and endocrine disruptors in our waters, neurotoxins and diesel pollution in our air, etc.

So come out to  Penn Treaty Park to celebrate and to make our demands clear:

1. Statewide moratorium on all drilling at least until the EPA study is done and Halliburton Loophole exemptions lifted — and

2. CUMULATIVE IMPACT STUDY in the Delaware River watershed, before DRBC rules for drilling are released: until then, complete moratorium on all projects related to gas drilling in the Delaware River Basin.

More Background:

Protecting Our Waters has worked hard, along with many allies including Clean Water Action, PennEnvironment, Sierra Club, and others, to push for HB2235, Rep Greg Vitali’s moratorium on further leasing of our state forests.

The public pressure has worked!  Governor Rendell is in Philadelphia tomorrow to sign an executive order for a moratorium on further leasing of public lands for gas drilling in our state forests.

THIS IS A VICTORY, but an extremely limited one.  Even the industry doesn’t oppose this state forest moratorium, because they’ve already had their way with our state forests.  They already have 700 million acres leased, they’ve already fragmented beautiful habitat, they’re already degrading water quality, and their permits to CONTINUE DRILLING in our state forests will not be affected by this moratorium.  It’s only a moratorium on more leasing.  OF COURSE WE SUPPORT THIS, BUT IT IS NOT ENOUGH!

Rendell will also be speaking about a severance tax, which we also support as it’s better than outright theft of resources without compensation.  For any drilling that does occur, we support a severance tax of at least 15% — 5% for local communities impacted by drilling, 5% for the Growing Greener fund, 5% for the general fund.

HOWEVER, A SEVERANCE TAX WILL NOT PROTECT the environment or public health.  It will not stop water quality degradation, fish kills, wetlands destruction, contamination of land, water, air, food, or gas extraction’s escalating impact increasing global warming.

A severance tax must not lend legitimacy to an industry out of control.

The only way to protect the environment and people would be union jobs and worker protections; a statewide moratorium to give time for assessment and appropriate rulemaking; and radically different rules, such as regulating global warming emissions (currently not regulated); requirements for non-toxic fracking fluid (currently not required), a ban on open impoundments for flowback (currently allowed throughout the state, which is outrageous), and a ban on huge trucks carrying loads of toxic chemicals on unsafe roads with no shoulders.

Since we do have a temporary moratorium on drilling in the Delaware River Basin right now, we want to make very clear that we want to KEEP that moratorium in place and STOP the DRBC from issuing rules prior to the cumulative impact study.

PennFuture, Sierra Club, Clean Water Action, and other organizations will be celebrating this partial victory with us — an executive order protecting our forests from even more leasing — since we all worked together on it.  But we need more!

We would love for Governor Rendell to be a real environmental hero, support a statewide moratorium at least until the EPA study is done and Halliburton Loophole exemptions lifted, and direct his representative — the PA Commissioner on the DRBC — to vote against any rules being issued until the cumulative impact study is done.

Go ahead, Governor Rendell — be a real hero!  We’d support you wholeheartedly!  We invite you to take real steps to protect real people, and real ecosystems, from the destructive onslaught.

But you haven’t been listening — you’ve been directing your Pennsylvania Commissioner on the DRBC to ignore the outcry from the people, ignore Philadelphia City Council, and fast-track the rulemaking for our watershed WITHOUT a cumulative impact study first.

In March, Philadelphia City Council called for a ban on fracking in our watershed without an environmental impact statement, and we back them up!

On Sept. 30th, City Council called for a three-year statewide moratorium, and we back them up!

On Oct. 14th, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and Councilman Jones wrote the DRBC a letter calling for no rules to be issued until the cumulative impact study is done, and we back them up!

Governor Rendell, can you hear us?

Protectors, Come on out and help us make it clear!

Governor’s Office of Legislative Affairs
Colleen M. Kopp, Secretary
238 Capitol Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120
(717) 787-2531          Fax (717) 772-9012
October 22, 2010
Scheduling Notice: Advisory
Please be advised that Governor Rendell will be in Philadelphia for a press conference on Marcellus Shale Severance Tax and to sign an Executive Order on a moratorium on leasing state lands for drilling purposes.
Date:            Tuesday, October     26, 2010
Time:           2:30 p.m.
Location:     Penn Treaty Park
Delaware and Frankford Avenues
Philadelphia
We wanted you to be aware that Governor Rendell will be attending this event.  If you have any questions or if you are planning to attend this event, please contact Nicole Stettler at (717) 787-2531 or nstettler@state.pa.us so we can let the Governor know you will be there.  Thank you

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