Delaware River Watershed - 175 organizations representing a total of almost a million members and 6,751 individuals signed a letter to the Delaware River Basin Commission voting members calling for a FULL fracking ban in the Delaware River Watershed. The letter was delivered by the Delaware River Frack Ban Coalition on Friday, October 14 to the Commissioners, the voting members of the DRBC who will decide on the final regulations governing these activities. The Commissioners are the Governors of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware and the Army Corps of Engineers, representing President Biden. The link to the letter is here: https://bit.ly/3etKHA7
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Signatory organizations represent a wide diversity of groups dedicated to environmental and human health protection from throughout the Delaware River Watershed states and beyond. The Delaware, the longest undammed river east of the Mississippi, is a Wild and Scenic River, a National Estuary, home to biologically diverse and treasured iconic species, and the source of drinking water for up to 17 million people, including New York City and the greater Philadelphia region. Over 8 million people live and work within the Basin and rely on the highly valuable yet vulnerable assets the river provides. Fracking in Pennsylvania is widely recognized as causing devastating human health harms and long-lived unmitigatable environmental damage. The climate impacts of the release of methane by fracking and its operations is well documented by scientists as a major driver of atmospheric warming, feeding the climate crisis.
The DRBC’s permanent ban on fracking throughout the Watershed was just upheld in federal court, showing that the agency has the authority to prevent the Watershed’s degradation by enacting the FULL ban that is needed.
The letter voices its primary purpose:
“Here in the Delaware River Watershed, our future hangs in the balance as you decide on final regulations regarding fracking wastewater and water operations in the Basin. We, the undersigned, ask you, the voting members of the DRBC, to revise the draft regulations to completely ban imports of fracking wastewater and exports of water for fracking, to protect the public, water supplies, the watershed’s ecosystems, and to help alleviate the climate crisis.”
Draft regulations were published by the DRBC in October, 2021, a public comment period ran through the end of February 2022. Nearly 12,000 people submitted comments to the DRBC during that time, virtually all calling for the FULL fracking ban. One year later, there is still no action from the Commissioners. People are calling “Time is up! The time to save the Watershed is now! Finish the job, DRBC!”
“In 2010, when the DRBC put a moratorium on fracking, the year’s atmospheric CO2 level was 390.1 ppm. When the Commissioners finally banned fracking 11 years later, the annual average was 414.72 ppm, an increase of more than 6.3 percent. Nothing is going to stop this trend unless decisive action is taken right now. The Commissioners can and must reject the proposed regulations that would enable the fossil fuel industry to continue doing business as usual and declare a full fracking ban instead,” said Karen Feridun, Founder of Berks Gas Truth.
Arrindell, from Damascus Citizens for Sustainability wants you to know, “Aside from the obvious, why contaminate something that isn’t already contaminated? Especially such a beautiful area as the Delaware River Basin (if you haven’t already, you should really come visit). Understand that not only are the wastes not tracked, because the oil and gas industry has exemptions to major provisions of protective federal laws, but also the workers are not covered by the OSHA rules that every other industry must follow. Therefore, workers can be forced to work very long hours, leading to more illegal dumping, spills and accidents especially in more rural areas.”
“The DRBC banned fracking last year, reasoning that pollution from fracking operations is too great a risk to impose on the water supply for up to 17 million people. The harm that fracking has done where it is occurring proves it is incompatible with healthy communities, clean air and water and the Watershed cannot withstand the contamination and degradation from wastewater imports and water exports. It is also evident that the methane that fracking releases is driving the climate crisis and DRBC would be enabling the fracking industry by taking its toxic and radioactive wastewater and feeding its glutinous consumption of water, worsening the climate effects that are already damaging the watershed and beyond. We call on the Commissioners to revise the regulations and adopt a FULL ban to prevent these imports and exports - be on the right side of history,” said Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network.
“Every day there is another headline pointing out the critical loss of species and biodiversity crisis around the world, or dire examples of climate change impacting our communities, or how we are losing our pollinators across the globe from pesticides or multiple examples of "forever chemicals' in our streams and in our own bodies,” said Wes Gillingham Associate Director of Catskill Mountainkeeper. “The headline Catskill Mountainkeeper wants to see is: The Delaware River basin Commission stands up to industry pressure and completely bans fracking, fracking waste and water withdrawal for fracking. The Commissioners should be protecting our river, our communities and giving us hope about a future without dangerous fossil fuel extraction. The people want this. It is time for the Governors to make it happen.”
“The people of the Delaware River Valley want to be protected from all forms of fracking, including the contaminated waste that comes from it. Our basin is already at risk from major fossil fuel projects. The more we wait, the more at risk our clean drinking water for millions of people will be. That’s why it is imperative that the Delaware River Basin Commission move forward with a comprehensive fracking ban to protect the Delaware River,” said Taylor McFarland, Conservation Program Manager, Sierra Club, NJ.
"Over three years ago, Governor Murphy sent a letter to the Delaware River Basin requesting that the proposed rules go further than only banning the practice of hydraulic fracking and he said they should include a ban on all fracking related activities including water withdrawals and the import of fracking waste. This decision will be the pivotal moment when we need Governor Murphy to use his actions and climate leadership to back up his statement," said Eric Benson, NJ Campaigns Director. "In fact, all of the voting members of the DRBC, four Governors and President Biden through their delegates, are currently drafting their current legacy. Which side of history do they want to be on? Anything short of a full ban on fracking AND all fracking activities in the Delaware River Basin will be another nail in this planet's climate catastrophe coffin."
“The Biden administration has an opportunity to protect our drinking water while striking a blow against the industry driving the climate crisis. The Biden administration, along with the four governors on the commission, must stand up to the fossil fuel industry and completely ban all fracking activities in the Delaware River Basin. New Yorkers are looking to Governor Hochul for leadership in moving off fossil fuels and to champion banning fracking waste in a source of drinking water for millions of people,” said Eric Weltman, a New York-based organizer with Food & Water Watch.
The link to the letter submitted to the DRBC Commissioners is here: https://bit.ly/3etKHA7
The Delaware River Frack Ban Coalition includes: Berks Gas Truth, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Clean Water Action, Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Environment New Jersey, Food & Water Watch,
Natural Resources Defense Council, and New Jersey Sierra Club.