183 Organizations from Four Watershed States Tell Delaware River Basin Commissioners to Enact a Fracking Ban in the Watershed

Today, Catskill Mountainkeeper joined with 182 organizations in four states to tell the Delaware River Basin Commission to ban fracking in the watershed.  

As our own Wes Gillingham said, “New York State banned high volume fracking because of the overwhelming scientific evidence of its threats—especially those to public health. The Delaware River Basin Commission must do the same. This is the only course to protect our water, air, health and communities—it’s one that Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Wolf supports, one that New York’s Governor Cuomo has implemented, and we urge all of the commissioners to follow their lead.”

Read the full release and letter here.  And watch Pennsylvania's Governor Tom Wolf commit to supporting a fracking ban in the watershed here (h/t to our friends at Food & Water Watch for capturing the moment on video).

183 Organizations from Four Watershed States Tell Delaware River Basin Commissioners to Enact a Fracking Ban in the Watershed

Hundreds of thousands of members and residents want permanent regional water protection

Washington Crossing, PA – Today 183 organizations representing hundreds of thousands of members and the four states whose waters flow to the Delaware River submitted a letter to the Delaware River Basin Commission voting members – the Governors of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Delaware and the federal representative, the Army Corps of Engineers - calling for a permanent ban on fracking in the Watershed. 

Almost 400 people demonstrated at the DRBC’s public meeting last month in reaction to news that the DRBC staff has been working behind the scenes with PA Department of Environmental Protection to develop natural gas drilling regulations, which, if enacted, would lift the seven year moratorium on drilling in the Delaware River Basin. The groups are insisting that the mountains of scientific evidence, the data about water contamination from fracking, and the fracking ban in New York State provide more than enough reason for the Commissioners to enact a ban instead.

The rollback of federal environmental regulations and authority under the Trump Administration’s policies is an important concern since President Trump is represented on the DRBC by the Army Corps of Engineers, who holds the fifth vote to the four Governors.

“New York State banned high volume fracking because of the overwhelming scientific evidence of its threats—especially those to public health. The Delaware River Basin Commission must do the same. This is the only course to protect our water, air, health and communities—it’s one that Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Wolf supports, one that New York’s Governor Cuomo has implemented, and we urge all of the commissioners to follow their lead,” said Wes Gillingham, Program Director, Catskill Mountainkeeper.

"Delaware has nothing to gain and everything to lose from allowing fracking in our watershed" said Stephanie Herron, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator at the Delaware Sierra Club. "That's why we're calling on Governor Carney and the other DRBC Commissioners to protect Delawareans drinking water and health by permanently banning the dirty and dangerous drilling process in the Delaware River Basin."

“It is time to remove the fracking guillotine hanging over the heads of our watershed and residents and that could drop at any time with just a few weeks’ notice and the vote of just 5 people. Now is the time to give permanent protection and peace of mind to all those who rely upon and appreciate the Delaware River watershed” said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper.

"The Delaware River Basin is the drinking water source for millions of people. Peer reviewed scientific study shows us that fracking is inherently contaminating of water supplies. Fracking cannot be done anywhere water. Period. It needs to be banned in the Delaware River Basin and we will not stop until a complete ban is enacted," said Josh Fox, Director, GASLAND

“It’s now time, in fact past time, to turn the temporary moratorium on fracking around the Delaware River and its tributaries into a permanent ban. DRBC’s 2010 decision to protect these outstanding natural resource waters, the drinking water supply of 17 million people, was wise then and with all we’ve learned since it would be still wiser to take the next step now. The science is clear, fracking and protecting water are incompatible, that’s why New York has acted to ban fracking. DRBC must follow suit and get back out ahead of the curve,” said David Pringle, NJ Campaign Director of Clean Water Action which has members in all 4 states in the watershed.

“The Delaware River Valley is a national treasure and it’s being threatened by fracking. We need the DRBC to make the fracking ban permanent to protect this environmentally sensitive region and the drinking water for 17 million people,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “You have designated these areas as Special Protection Water Areas and you must give the River the special protection it deserves!”

“The Commissioners need look no farther than the shale fields of Pennsylvania, the only state in the basin that has exposed its communities to the ravages of fracking, to see why a permanent ban is warranted. During the years since the moratorium was established in 2010, we’ve seen fracking’s profound environmental, public health, and safety impacts in PA at the same time that we’ve seen huge, scalable advances in renewable, sustainable solutions. A ban is a no-brainer,” said Karen Feridun, Founder, Berks Gas Truth.

“The Delaware River Basin is one of the most important ecological and cultural regions in the entire nation. We cannot afford to expose it to the dangers of fracking, which could forever destroy the drinking water source for millions of people across five states. Instead of relying on dangerous fossil fuels of the past, we must turn to renewables and efficiency to power our future,” said Rob Friedman, Natural Resources Defense Council.

“The Delaware River Valley shouldn’t have the specter of fracking hanging over our watershed. More than 5 years ago, the DRBC rejected fracking regulations and maintained the temporary moratorium on fracking. In the age of Trump, it’s imperative for the DRBC to institute a permanent fracking ban on one of the most harmful industrial activities facing our vast drinking water network in the Delaware River watershed. It’s time for the DRBC to take a clear stand for our drinking water and oppose fracking,” said Doug O’Malley, Director, Environment New Jersey’s Director.

“The 183 organizations that signed this letter are telling the DRBC Commissioners that the moratorium they put in place has protected the River so far and now that we have abundant incontrovertible evidence to prove fracking cannot be done safely, it is their responsibility to enact a permanent ban to provide this Wild and Scenic River and the water supply for 17 million people the protection that is necessary,” said Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network. The letter to the DRBC Commissioners was submitted to them at the March 15 business meeting of the Commission in Washington Crossing, PA. A copy of the letter is below.

 

Contacts:

Maya van Rossum Delaware Riverkeeper Network 215.369.1188x102 keepermaya@delawareriverkeeper.org

Jeff Tittel, Director, New Jersey Sierra Club, 609-558-9100, jeff.tittel@sierraclub.org

David Pringle, Clean Water Action New Jersey, 732.996.4288 dpringle@cleanwater.org

Tracy Carluccio, DRN, 215.369.1188x104, tracy@delawareriverkeeper.org Doug O'Malley, Environment New Jersey, 917.449.6812 domalley@environmentnewjersey.org

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Delaware Riverkeeper Network ~ Berks Gas Truth ~ Sierra Club New Jersey ~ Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy ~ Move to Amend-Lower Bucks ~ Environment New Jersey ~ Kingwood Township CAP ~ The River Reporter ~ Sullivan Area Citizens for Responsible Energy Development (SACRED) ~ Clean Water Action New Jersey ~ NJ Highlands Coalition ~ Potter's Farm ~ Schuylkill Pipeline Awareness ~ Friends of the Wissahickon ~ Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter ~ Lebanon Pipeline Awareness ~ Riverkeeper, Inc. ~ Bethel Concerned Citizens ~ Sierra Club PA Chapter ~ Coastal Monmouth Democratic Club ~ Citizens for Oceanfront Preservation ~ New Jersey Highlands Coalition ~ Morris/Sussex/Warren Green Party ~ Green Justice Philly Granny Peace Brigade ~ Food & Water Watch ~ Physicians for Social Responsibility ~ Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility ~ Sierra Club ~ Environmental Advocates of New York ~ Enrprise Strategies ~ Residents Against Compressor Station 206 ~ Catskill Mountainkeeper ~ Citizens United for Renewable Energy (CURE) ~ 350 Bucks County, PA ~ SASD ~ NoFrackingBucks.net ~ Doylestown Democrats ~ Sourland Conservancy ~ 350 NJ ~ Physicians for Social Responsibility- Philadelphia ~ Washington Crossing Audubon Society ~ Clean Water Action Pennsylvania ~ Sanford-Oquaga Area Concerned Citizens ~ Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development ~ Earthworks ~ Unitarian Universalist Pennsylvania Legislative Advocacy Network ~ Lambertville City Pipeline Committee ~ Pennsylvania Council of Churches ~ Concerned Health Professionals of NY ~ Catskill Heritage Alliance ~ Pennsylvania Federation BMWED -Teamsters ~ Clean Air Council ~ Philadelphia Chapter of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light (PA IPL) ~ POWA - Protect Our Water & Air ~ PA Sierra Club, Southeast Region ~ Bucks County Green Party ~ Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air Gas Free Seneca ~ Damascus Citizens for Sustainability ~ Delaware County Neighbors ~ Beyond Extreme Energy ~ Citizens For Water ~ NYH2o ~ Letter of Marque Theater Co. ~ Strike Anywhere Performance Ensemble ~ Sierra Club, Southeastern PA Group ~ Clements Spine Surgery ~ Citizens Alliance Upholding a Safe Environment - CAUSE ~ Rootskeeper.org ~ Stewards of the Earth ~ 2 Ballona Creek Renaissance ~ Yahi Group of the Sierra Club ~ North American Climate, Conservation and Environment (NACCE) ~ wissahickon valley landscapes ~ Sane Energy Project ~ Topanga Peace Alliance ~ 500 Women Scientists, Philly Pod ~ Sludge Free UMBT ~ Aquashicola/ Pohopoco Watershed Conservancy ~ Our Health, Our Future, Our Longmont ~ Genesis Farm ~ Bucks County Concerned Citizens Against the Pipelines ~ Freshwater Accountability Project ~ Bus For Progress ~ LEPOCO Peace Center (Lehigh-Pocono Committee of Concern ~ Ban Fracking CA ~ Tidewaters Gateway Partnership Inc. ~ New Yorkers Against Fracking ~ ClimateMama ~ Daily Kos ~ Cooks Creek Watershed Association ~ E.D.G.E ~ United for Action ~ Bertsch-Hokendauqua-Catasauqua Watershed Association ~ Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development ~ NYC Friends of Clearwater ~ Community Housing and Empowerment Connections Inc. ~ Delaware Sierra Club ~ International Wow Company ~ Rise Up: Indivisible Lower Merion ~ Windy Gates Properties ~ DELAWARE CONCERNED RESIDENTS OF EJHA ~ Gas Free Seneca ~ Sustainable Solutions ~ Tusten Heritage Community Garden ~ Smokey Belles Catskills LLC ~ NACL Theatre ~ Polygon Products ~ Beautiful Corner ~ Health Promotion Strategies ~ Town of Callicoon Democratic Committee ~ SeniorLegislativeActionCommittee ~ NY Water Action Group ~ Earth Guardians New York ~ Sustainable Warwick ~ Trout Unlimited East Jersey Chapter ~ Fossil Free Tompkins ~ Northern NJ Chapter, National Organization for Women ~ We Are Seneca Lake ~ Rainforest Relief ~ NJ State Industrial Union Council ~ Frack Action ~ Resist Spectra Safe Energy Rights Group (SEnRG) ~ Stop NY Fracked Gas Pipeline ~ Grassroots Environmental Education ~ Schaghticoke First Nations ~ People, Not Pipelines ~ PAUSE - People of Albany United For Safe Energy ~ United Against Fossil Fuels ~ Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE) ~ NoFrackingBucks ~ New Jersey Tenants Organization ~ Protecting Our Waters ~ NYPIRG ~ 3 Concerned Burlington Neighbors ~ Stop The Minisink Compressor Station ~ Protect Orange County ~ Dryden Resource Awareness Coalition ~ Concerned Residents of Oxford ~ Sustainable McDonough Compressor Free Franklin ~ 350Brooklyn.org ~ CWA Local 1037 ~ Potter's Farm ~ Schuylkill Pipeline Awareness ~ Green Party of New Jersey ~ Srs. of St. Dominic ~ NJ State Industrial Union Council ~ UD Students for the Environment ~ ShaleshockCNY ~ People for a Healthy Environment, Inc. ~ PeacePartners.org ~ ~ Sierra Club New York City Group ~ Pennsylvanians Against Fracking ~ Already Devalued and Devastated Homeowners of Parsippany ~ Green Party of Delaware ~ Earthjustice 350 Philadelphia ~ Lebanon Pipeline Awareness ~ Acupuncture Physical Therapy ~ Vikalicious Jewelry ~ Concerned Citizens of Lebanon County ~ PaForestCoalition.org ~ Chikuba Associates ~ Marcellus Outreach Middlesex ~ WATERSPIRIT ~ Wilmington In Transition ~ Philly Neighborhood Networks ~ Philly Thrive ~ Greenpeace USA #Get2Work ~ Pennsylvania Council of Churches ~ Sisters of St. Dominic ~ Bucks Environmental Action Group ~ New Jersey Citizen Action ~ New Jersey Working Families Alliance ~ Committee Against Plutonium Economics, Delaware – Natural Resources Defense Council ~ Philly Runners Running Club ~ Responsible Drilling Alliance ~ Josh Fox GASLAND

 

March 14, 2017

Commissioners Delaware River Basin Commission

West Trenton, NJ

Dear Commissioners,

We call upon the Delaware River Basin Commission to enact a permanent ban on all gas development, including drilling and fracking, in the Delaware River Watershed.

The Delaware River Basin Commission currently prohibits permitting for natural gas extraction projects in the Delaware River Basin. This prohibition was put in place in May 2010 by the Commission based on the determination that natural gas projects, 4 individually or cumulatively, will have a substantial impact on the water resources of the Delaware River Watershed.

As the federal-interstate agency formed in 1961 to manage the water resources of the Watershed, the Commission members – the Governors of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware and the federal government – represent the public’s interests. Chief among the Commission’s responsibilities is protecting the water supply of 17 million people, including New York City and Philadelphia.

As you know, the Wild and Scenic Delaware River is classified as Special Protection Waters (SPW) due to exceptionally high water quality and outstanding natural resources with special regulations that protect those resources and maintain the River’s exceptional water quality. The entire drainage area that flows to the nontidal Delaware River, which extends from Hancock NY to Trenton NJ, is designated as SPW, and is the longest stretch of anti-degradation waters in the nation. The Commission’s mandated protection of these resources provides the foundational authority for the drilling moratorium.

When the commission enacted the moratorium three main concerns were cited – the diminishment of surface and groundwater, the release of pollution, and the impacts of frack waste disposal.(1) In the intervening years, a substantial body of knowledge has developed demonstrating significant evidence that shale gas development has myriad adverse effects on our water, forest, air, land, public health, property interests, and agriculture, effecting present and future generations.(2)

After exhaustive study, the State of New York prohibited fracking based on environmental and public health analysis.(3) The NY Department of Health concluded that the overall weight of the evidence demonstrated the likelihood of the occurrence of adverse health outcomes and environmental impacts from fracking could not be prevented, leading to the Governor’s decision to ban high volume hydraulic fracturing in the state. The Commission has not conducted a comprehensive assessment of the cumulative and long-term impacts of shale gas development that illustrates that natural gas development from shale could safely occur within the Delaware River Basin without degradation of the Watershed’s water resources and the essential values of Special Protection Waters. In fact, the evidence supports that shale gas cannot be extracted or developed safely with current technology.

And so we call upon the Delaware River Basin Commission to enact a permanent ban on natural gas development in the Delaware River Watershed for the protection of our water resources (surface, ground and wetland) and to preserve the outstanding and essential values of the Delaware River and its Watershed, for the benefit of all our communities, including generations yet to come.

 

 

(1) http://www.nj.gov/drbc/programs/natural/

(2) PSE Healthy Energy Library, https://www.zotero.org/groups/pse_study_citation_database/items; See Compendium, http://concernedhealthny.org/compendium/; Delaware Riverkeeper Network, “Unsafe and Unsustainable,” http://www.delawareriverkeeper.org/Documents/DRN_Report_Unsafe+Unsustainable_fr.pdf

(3) https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwjD- 4iqidTSAhUT0WMKHaDvDv8QFggkMAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.health.ny.gov%2Fpress%2Freports%2Fdocs% 2Fhigh_volume_hydraulic_fracturing.pdf&usg=AFQjCNEf2InvR1UJGAv7HIJRkwAy8DlAxA&sig2=xfAHESnSojfobq3iy Qw-pQ&cad=rja 

 

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