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Action Alert; DRBC has scheduled three public hearings – write, call, testify

January 28, 2011

Citizens right now only have until March 16 to comment as the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) has already released it’s set of recommendations on fracking in the Delaware Watershed.

These regulations are complex and more time is needed to read and understand them.  Please get involved by speaking, emailing, or writing to the DRBC.

The DRBC has scheduled three public hearings, each from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., at the following locations:

Feb. 22 – Honesdale High School Auditorium, 459 Terrace Street, Honesdale, Pa.

Feb. 22 – Liberty High School Auditorium, 125 Buckley Street, Liberty, N.Y.

Feb. 24 – Patriots Theater at the War Memorial, 1 Memorial Drive, Trenton, N.J.

If you would like to testify, according to what we know “registration will begin one hour prior to the beginning of each hearing session (12:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.). Please note that the registration process will be on a first-come basis and it is estimated that approximately 75 persons will have the opportunity to present oral testimony within the allotted time period for each hearing session. Oral testimony will be limited to two minutes per person, but can be supplemented with written comments submitted at the hearing or prior to the written comments deadline. Oral testimony and written comments will receive the same consideration by the Commissioners prior to any action on the proposed regulations. Elected government officials will be afforded the opportunity to present their two-minute oral testimony at the beginning of the hearing if they contact Paula Schmitt at (609) 883-9500 x224 prior to the date of the hearing.”

Iris Marie Bloom of Protecting Our Waters adds; “In addition to testifying, or if you cannot attend a hearing, please use the special dedicated DRBC website listing to write them your comments!!

Rather than write one long email/letter to the DRBC, please write numerous emails/letters — one for each point you’d like to make. When a new development occurs, please send the DRBC information about that specific development. At the same time, always request that the DRBC increase the public comment period for the draft fracking regulations to at minimum six months, and mention the need for a cumulative environmental impact study. Sending separate emails or letters will facilitate the DRBC’s filing system so that they will know what issues people are concerned about.”

The DRBC will NOT read comments sent to individual commissioners. Instead, send comments to their dedicated website listing:

http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=261&projectID=33467&documentID=37829

Also hard copy the message to:

Commission Secretary

Katherine O’Hara,

Communications Assistant

Delaware River Basin Commission

25 State Police Drive

P.O. Box 7360

West Trenton, NJ 08628-0360

According to the DRBC, the purpose of the proposed regulations is to protect the water resources of the Delaware River Basin during the construction and operation of natural gas development projects. The draft regulations establish requirements to prevent, reduce, or mitigate depletion and degradation of surface and groundwater resources and to promote sound practices of watershed management.

The DRBC is a federal/interstate government agency responsible for managing the water resources within the 13,539 square-mile Delaware River Basin. The five Commission members are the Governors of the basin states (Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania) and the Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ North Atlantic Division, who represents the federal government.

The DRBC mandate includes “preventing future pollution.”

Additional information, including a fact sheet and the text of the proposed regulations, can be found on the Commission’s web site at www.drbc.net.

Knowing this, here are some sample topics and points to write in about:

Need for a cummulative impact study IN DELAWARE BASIN;
Need for a monitoring and enforcement policy;
The recent pipeline explosion in Philadelphia;
Philadelphia calling for moratorium until EPA study is complete;
Britain placing a moratorium on drilling;
Arkansas placing a moratorium on drillling, because of recent unusual earthquake activity;
The recent report that Marcellus gas is much more radioative than is conventional gas;
The report that PA has allowed the dumping of contaminated fracking flowback water into our streams, included within the
Delaware River Basin;
The need for no drilling to occur until greenhouse gas emissions are regulated and radically reduced — both CO2 and methane;
The serious human health impacts (ranging from asthma to lesions and tumors)  being reported which indicate shale gas drilling harms human health due to AIR and water contamination;
The rate of accidents, spills, blowouts and explosions, and violations;
The ANS study showing water quality degradation even without accidents or spills (reported Oct 12 2010 in Phila Inquirer)
Early reports of impacts on songbird habitat
The hundreds of animal deaths, stillbirths, and sicknesses being reported widely without any serious veterinary study
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