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Alert! Avert DRBC rules being released without Cumulative Impact Study

December 6, 2010

The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), which has ultimate authority over fracking in our watershed, has said they will release their rules for hydrofracking by the end of this week.   Without waiting for the EPA study, without performing a cumulative impact study, and with the idea that public debate about these rules will be limited to just 45 – 60 days, constrained within just one public meeting!   Make your voice heard immediately to avert this mistake.

Breaking news: Governor Paterson of New York immediately wrote to warn the DRBC against this premature action.
(Governor Paterson’s letter is below; please share and publicize.)

What you can do:

1. Take action right now by sending this Citizenspeak letter to the DRBC.  We are insisting not only on a cumulative impact study first, but on a full democratic process, fully informed by adequate science, which would require declaring the Delaware River watershed off-limits for fracking for three to five years.

2.  Reach out to someone you haven’t thought of yet, and encourage them to send that letter too!

(if you prefer to write your own, send it to paula.schmitt@drbc.state.nj.us — cc protectingourwaters@gmail.com! )

3.  If possible, plan to attend this Wednesday’s DRBC meeting at the West Trenton Volunteer Fire Company, located at 40 West Upper Ferry Road, West Trenton, NJ; confirm here that you will testify:  paula.schmitt@drbc.state.nj.us

4.  Print out and send the below letter to Governor Ed Rendell.  Demand that he direct his representative on the Delaware River Basin Commission not to release the rules without doing a cumulative impact study first — thus giving Rendell the chance to do one green thing right before he leaves office.

If inspired, don’t hold back from doing more:  Call Mayor Nutter.  Call any organization which could help defend our watershed; ask them all to insist no rules be released without a cumulative impact study first.

This is an “action a day” week in the fight for our watershed — the only unfracked watershed left in the state of Pennsylvania.  So stay tuned.  And thanks for everything you do.

Governor Ed Rendell

225 Main Capitol Building

Harrisburg, PA 17120

Dear Governor Rendell:

Please direct your representative on the Delaware River Basin Commission not to release rules for fracking in our watershed without first completing a cumulative impact statement.

Shale gas drilling impacts private and public drinking water sources; causes deforestation and stormwater problems; causes water quality degradation and negative impacts on aquatic life; impacts human health; and poisons our climate with both CO2 and massive unregulated methane emissions.  It is also potentially catastrophic, as the Clearfield blowout demonstrated.

We need time to soberly and scientifically assess ALL these impacts before proceeding. Because Marcellus Shale drillers have rushed to frack and dump fracking waste directly into the Monongahela River, that river is now degraded. Because the industry continues to deny the serious and pervasive problem of methane migration, the Susquehanna River was found bubbling with methane gas from Chesapeake Energy fracking sites. In western states, air pollution in heavy drilling areas are causing a rise in asthma and other respiratory illnesses. In Dimock, PA, a nine-mile aquifer has been permanently destroyed and an entire community torn apart. Why should we invite this tide of destruction into our watershed at all, let alone in such a hurry?

We need you to hold the line. Philadelphia City Council passed a resolution last March demanding a ban on fracking in our watershed until an environmental impact study has been completed. Neither the EPA study nor the DRBC / USGS cumulative impacts study have been completed, so the ban must be enacted, respected and enforced.

Please immediately direct the DRBC to not release or finalize these rules until the EPA study and the Cumulative Impact Study are done.

We cannot allow a fragmented review process to deny us our fundamental right to clean air, clean water, clean food, and a healthy future.

Governor Rendell, you said that Pennsylvania’s vote on the DRBC “doesn’t count,” but it does.  Be a real Democrat and stand up for democracy.  Ten million people have spoken.  Please provide real green leadership at this crucial moment and use your power and authority for good.  Join us.  Speak up.  Tell your Commissioner to withhold rules for fracking until the Cumulative Impact Study is complete.

Sincerely,

*******(name, address, state, zip code, organization if appropriate)

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: <tracy@delawareriverkeeper.org>
Date: Mon, Dec 6, 2010 at 4:49 PM
Subject: [Gas Info] Breaking News!
To: paccwinfogas@lists.democracyinaction.org

Letter from Governor Paterson to DRBC warning against premature release of draft gas rules:

 

December 6, 2010

 

Ms. Carol Collier

Executive Director

Delaware River Basin Commission

P.O. Box 7360

West Trenton, New Jersey 08628

 

Re: Proposed Regulation of Natural Gas Hydraulic Fracturing and Associated Activities

 

Dear Ms. Collier:

 

I write to request that the Delaware River Basin Commission halt its efforts to enact regulations covering certain elements of natural gas extraction activities within New York State.

New York is presently proceeding with a careful and comprehensive review of the broad array of scientific and technical issues associated with high volume hydraulic fracturing. Indeed, horizontal hydraulic fracturing to produce natural gas is not underway in New York, and will not be underway until completion of this review. Chief among the items being assessed are the potential risks and technical remedies necessary to assure the protection of the biological, chemical and physical integrity of the State’s surface and ground waters. A supplemental environmental impact statement review is underway, as are efforts to develop the regulatory, engineering, financial assurance, enforcement and staffing elements of any potential program. As you know, New York has determined that separate environmental reviews would be necessary for any natural gas projects that might be proposed within the unfiltered New York City drinking water watershed, a watershed that comprises a significant portion of the Delaware River basin within New York.

 

DRBC appears intent on going forward with a regulatory program that would not have the advantage of the full investigations and public deliberations taking place in New York. Your proposed program, covering only a very small portion of New York State, could well conflict with the technical and regulatory protocols ultimately adopted in New York, causing confusion, duplication, redundant regulatory fee assessments, differing regulations in different locations and possible mismanagement. It would make far more sense for DRBC to participate in the New York process and assist in making the program as effective as possible, certainly before undertaking unilateral action. Importantly, given that there is a gubernatorial transition underway, it is appropriate that the DRBC avoid upsetting the transition process and policy prerogatives of the in-coming Governor.

 

We look forward to discussing these concerns before any action is undertaken and ask that you contact Peter Iwanowicz, Acting Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Deputy Secretary to the Governor for the Environment at 518-402-8540 to discuss this matter at your earliest convenience.

 

Sincerely,

David A. Paterson

 

cc: Hon. Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey

Brigadier General Peter DeLuca, Commander U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NAD

Hon. Jack Markell, Governor of Delaware

Hon. Edward Rendell, Governor of Pennsylvania

Senator Schumer

Senator Gillibrand

Representative Hinchey

Representative Bishop

Representative Israel

Representative Engel

Representative Hall

Representative Murphy

Hon. Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City

Commissioners of DRBC

 

Tracy Carluccio

Deputy Director

Delaware Riverkeeper Network

300 Pond Street, 2nd Floor

Bristol, PA 19007

Phone:  215 369 1188 ext 104

Cell: 215-692-2329

Fax:  215 369 1181

www. delawareriverkeeper.org

Remember the River
http://www.delawareriverkeeper.org/remember

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