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Press Release; Philadelphia City Council Passes Resolution Demanding a Public Hearing in Philadelphia and More Public Input into the Delaware River Basin Commission’s Proposed Natural Gas Development Regulations

January 27, 2011

For Immediate Release

January 27, 2011

Contact:

Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director for the Delaware Riverkeeper Network

(Office)  215-369-1188×104   (cell) 215-692-2329

Philadelphia City Council Passes Resolution

Demanding a Public Hearing in Philadelphia and More Public Input into the

Delaware River Basin Commission’s

Proposed Natural Gas Development Regulations

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Philadelphia City Council is demanding that the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) hold a Public Hearing in the City to get input from residents about the proposed natural gas regulations that were issued for comment by the DRBC on December 9, 2010.  The draft regulations will govern natural gas development in the Delaware River Basin; City residents get their drinking water from the river’s watershed.  To see the draft DRBC rules: http://www.state.nj.us/drbc/notice_naturalgas-draftregs.htm On January 27, a letter was sent from the meeting to the DRBC requesting the Hearing and an expansion of the short public comment period, which has been set to end on March 16, just six weeks away.

The full City Council session on January 27 examined a report produced by a joint committee on the Impacts of Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling on Philadelphia.  The report reflected the Committee’s research and the transcript of the Committee’s Hearing in September where testimony was submitted by five panels made up of scientists, technical experts, regulators and clean water advocates including the Delaware Riverkeeper.

“Looking at the rest of Pennsylvania it is clear that with gas drillers come big costs – for our River, for our region and for Philadelphia”, said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper. “So strong action needs to be taken to prevent that harm.  Philadelphia is taking that action,” concluded van Rossum.

City Council passed a resolution that includes a bold set of recommendations put forth in the Report regarding shale gas development. To see the resolution: http://legislation.phila.gov/detailreport/matter.aspx?key=10912 The report recommends that critical studies be completed, including a cumulative impact study by the DRBC and a hydraulic fracturing study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, before any regulations are adopted by the DRBC and before any drilling commences.  It also recommends that there be a yearlong public comment period after the studies are done while the DRBC develops gas drilling regulations based on these scientific analyses.

“1.5 million Philadelphia residents and local communities get their drinking water from River intakes here and the people who rely on the River for clean water have a right to speak at a DRBC Hearing accessibly located where they live.  The City is stepping forward with this action and saying ‘We want to tell the DRBC to protect our water from gas drilling pollution’ and it’s incumbent upon the DRBC to go there and listen”, said Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network.   A letter written by the Delaware Riverkeeper Network was submitted by a DRN member who is a city resident to the Council calling for DRBC-focused actions at the Council meeting. To see the letter:

http://www.delawareriverkeeper.org/resources/Letters/PhilaCityCouncil.Shale.Resolution100864.1.25.2011.pdf

Protecting Our Waters, Clean Water Action, PENNEnvironment and Delaware Riverkeeper Network all worked together on the effort to bring the natural gas issue and the crucial role of the DRBC’s rulemaking to the City Council, who has been proactive on several levels in drawing attention to and working to prevent the adverse impacts of natural gas development in the Delaware River Watershed upstream of where the City gets it water. For POW’s news announcement and a copy of the City’s Report: https://protectingourwaters.wordpress.com/

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