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Seven organizations challenge legality of Susquehanna River Basin Commission’s December 15th vote

December 22, 2011
22 December 2011
Today, a consortium of seven conservation and environmental groups have sent a letter to the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, asking the Commissioners to reconvene to complete its meeting held on December 15.  Last week, the Commission hastily adjourned its meeting in Wilkes-Barre, after a group of citizens challenged its authority, shouted at the Commissioners and disrupted the meeting.
The Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) has been notified that actions taken by the Commission on December 15 [in particular, a vote which approved 24 water withdrawals for fracking, guaranteeing the fracking industry four years’ worth of consumptive water use in high-volume fracking operations] were done so “off the record”, and are therefore not legally binding. Members of the public not involved in the disruptions were denied their right to present testimony on Marcellus natural gas drilling water withdrawal applications.
The SRBC held its meeting on December 15 in Wilkes-Barre to consider a series of natural gas drilling water withdrawal applications.  In response to some outspoken members of the public, the SRBC meeting was adjourned, and then the Commissioners proceeded to vote off the record to approve the water withdrawal applications. By adjourning the meeting prematurely, members of the public who wished to provide testimony on the individual water withdrawals were prevented from doing so.
Please contact the following for additional information and a copy of the letter.

Thomas Au
Conservation Chair
PA Sierra Club

Nadia Steinzor
Marcellus Shale Regional Organizer

Liz Garland Deardorff, Director
American Rivers Pennsylvania Clean Water Program 763-0742
  1. Sally G permalink
    December 22, 2011 7:51 pm

    This is upsetting. I am a resident of New Jersey, following fracking news because of the dangers to the Delaware River Basin, which provides drinking for many N.J. residents. The more I learn, the more I believe in a national ban, or at the very least serious limitations as to the scope of drilling. What can I do about this particular situation that will be helpful?
    Thanks for any suggestions.

    • December 22, 2011 10:52 pm

      follow the instructions in this blog to let the commissioners know that you support the tabling of all further water withdrawals until a cumulative impact study has been done, and then contact Susan Obleski ( // 717-238-0423 ext. 316 ) Director of Communications for the SRBC, and tell her that you support the organizations calling for a new meeting. then ask her the mailing address/info for sending a snail mail letter to the SRBC members telling them what you think.

    • Iris Marie Bloom permalink
      December 23, 2011 6:26 am

      Please write to the federal representative on the Susquehanna River Basin Commission! The Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay are national treasures and every resident of the Susquehanna Basin (NY + PA + MD) has every bit as much a right to clean air, clean water, fundamental safety and justice as folks in the Delaware River Basin. Here’s the link with ALL the addresses for state and federal SRBC Commissioners to write to (scroll down on the post):
      You can also press any enviro org. you are part of to put pressure on the SRBC to deny all those water withdrawals, possibly joining the lawsuit or initiating a new lawsuit. By the way the Susquehanna is in a seismically active region. This past January deep hydraulic fracturing in Oklahoma caused at least 43 earthquakes. Has this cumulative impact been studied? Please make clear that it’s not just the immediate and long-term consumptive water use you are concerned about, but also the immediate and long-term public health and safety threats from this extreme extraction method.
      Thanks for taking action – you are right to be upset, Sally, and thanks for the great link, Julie. That’s the spirit!_- Iris


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