In his July 2, 2013 letter to the Delaware River Basin Commission, former DEP Secretary John Hanger cites numerous concerns over regulation of gas drilling in PA. He cites numerous concerns with our environmental regulation and policy, most of which I – and I believe many PA citizens – agree with. that PA “regulatory staff is at least 50 percent too small to provide appropriate regulatory oversight of the areas where gas drilling is now taking place” and that PA’s Governor does not work “professionally and effectively with the EPA and federal regulatory partners.”
Hanger concludes that: “It is past time to take strong action to insure that gas drilling is strongly regulated as well as reasonably taxed.”
How and why then is gas drilling currently an acceptable risk to the rest of PA, to that vast majority of our Commonwealth outside the Delaware River watershed? Both cases can not be logically made.
The PA Democratic Committee’s recently resolved to place a moratorium on fracking throughout Pennsylvania. Such Resolution is logically consistent with the concerns about gas drilling in PA. The Committee’s vote wasn’t even close, at 115-81. I call on all fellow Democrats to support our state Committee’s resolution to place a moratorium on fracking throughout Pennsylvania, not just in watersheds with abundant campaign donors.
In lieu of a Moratorium, we could be doing better at protecting ourselves. The Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) is doing an insufficient job of protecting our water, either with investigations of existing applications, or as a planner of future actions, as require by its Compact.
Here are our June 2013 comments to SRBC, written by our (Lower Susquehanna RiverKeeper) and the Delaware RiverKeeper’s staff attorneys, and others:
Therein we call for, at a minimum, a Cumulative Water Study, examining the qualitative impacts of authorizing water withdrawals.
This summer, I proudly joined these activists to deliver petitions signed by 100,000 citizens to the Governor’s Office, calling for a Moratorium on Fracking. I am in the second row, wearing a light blue shirt, standing beside former Harrisburg Mayoral candidate Lewis Butts.
UPDATE – 10:30 am July 11 – Meeting with @Alisha Mishinski, myself and others (?) from the Marcellus Citizen Stewardship Project, in front of the PA Capitol, to lobby State Senator Rob Teplitz to support a fracking moratorium in PA. I understand that PA Senators Ferlo, Boscola, Leach, Schwank, Kitchen and Washington are in support of Sen. Ferlo’s cosponsorship memo and this is on most Senators’ radar. Please join us. — at State Capitol Building, Harrisburg Pa.
Our odds are not great. But, if you would have told me just 6 months ago that the PA Democratic Committee would overwhelmingly (115-81) adopt such a policy, I would have said you were nuts…and yet, it has come to pass. This too?