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February 27, 2011

NEW: Talking points for your testimony here.

BREAKTHROUGH NEWS:  PHILADELPHIA IS HOSTING OUR OWN HEARING to accept public comment to be transcribed and sent to the Delaware River Basin Commission.  It’s short and it’s short notice but HERE IT IS:

Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown has partnered with Clean Water Action, Protecting Our Waters, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Sierra Club of Southeastern PA, PennEnvironment and other groups to host:

WHAT: Open Forum on DRBC Draft Regulations on Gas Drilling in the Delaware River watershed

WHEN: Tuesday, March 8th, 2011 5:30 – 7:30 — That’s International Women’s Day, folks!
DOORS OPEN:  5: 15 PM 

Join other concerned citizens at the Open Forum on DRBC Draft Regulations on Gas Drilling in the Delaware River watershed Tuesday, March 8th, 2011 5:30 - 7:30 Philadelphia City Hall City Council Chambers (4th Floor)

WHERE: City Council Chambers (4th Floor), City Hall, Philadelphia, PA

WHY: Hydrofracking introduces highly corrosive salts, carcinogens like benzene, and radioactive elements including radium 226, as well as hydrofracking constituents such as diesel fuel, hydrochloric acid, and worse, into Philadelphia’s water supply — the cleanest part of our watershed, the Upper Delaware river.  Regulators have been completely unable to protect public health from this deep type of gas drilling which is so new that its risks are only beginning to be studied.

WHY ELSE: Air and climate impacts from gas drilling are terrible, and uncontrolled.  So not only is our airshed threatened and global warming made worse — but our neighbors who live closer to gas drilling areas experience severe air pollution.  People are getting sick already in Western states and in western PA from gas drilling toxins that move through air, and Governor Corbett just this week exempted gas drilling operations from even the very low-bar PA DEP regulations that had previously offered any protection at all.  Large drilling corporations dominate PA right now, and they want to drill without restraint.

The DRBC is the only entity which has shown any willingness to stand up for public health, and under intense industry pressure they are now in the process of caving in — WITHOUT ANY CUMULATIVE IMPACT STUDY — and lifting the moratorium on gas drilling in our watershed.  The DRBC has given the 15 million people who depend on the Delaware River for clean drinking water only until March 16th to submit all public comment.  That’s outrageous.

Action: Plan to come early.  Tell your friends, neighbors, and all the water-drinkers and air-breathers you know.

UPDATE from the front lines:
Short story:  although we were the numerical majority in Trenton, at the DRBC hearing last Thursday February 24th, the industry out-maneuvered us in terms of media exposure.  Landowners who want drilling to begin ASAP bunched up “first in line” in a first-come first-serve sign-up situation.  This tactic guaranteed that most of the press left before hearing strong, specific pro-public-health arguments in favor of maintaining the moratorium in the Delaware River Basin.  Our tally-keeper said that of 133 people who testified, she counted about 31 in favor of gas drilling ASAP with weak regulations and about 102 in favor of a moratorium to protect public health.  But again, the PR firm, Quantum Communications, whose client is American Natural Gas Association, did a great job “framing” the industry message behind the scenes, creating the impression that this is a “he said, she said” argument.

Ours is really an argument in favor of reining in corporations who are playing fast and loose with public health.  It’s an argument based on sound science.  It’s an economic argument because disasters are expensive, in addition to hurting and killing living beings.  It’s an argument made necessary because ordinary people whose health has already been harmed by this industry are being silenced by non-disclosure clauses, and scientific voices of caution are not heard at all, as the debate is “dumbed down” into tight two-minute sound bites in public hearings such as these.

You can help us change that and make sure both the scientific voices of caution and the ordinary people’s demand for protection of our health — which requires clean air, water, and earth — for generations to come, is heard.

And stay tuned for news about how you can be a superhero and submit comment to the EPA about the scope of their study on hydrofracking’s risks to water.


  1. Maria Argenzio permalink
    March 1, 2011 10:04 am

    I cannot make the meeting on March 8 but i am opposed to the drilling. Is there any on line petiion that can be utilzied in order to prevent this from happening for most of us work and cannot get off.


  1. TUES. 2/8: Phila. City Council – Public Hearing on Gas Drilling in Delaware River Watershed « Smart Building Talk

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