Letter to The Enforcement Secretary

Fight for Our River  –  Re-designate The Delaware!

It’s time for public officials to hear from the public. Legislation is flying through Harrisburg, and lawmakers need to be aware that a growing number of constituencies are concerned about the toxic threat posed by industrial gas drilling. Urge them – today – to value clean water over dirty fossil fuels, to protect our existing high water quality, and to ensure ongoing protections in the face of an unprecedented Shale Gas Boom.

DEP Secretary Michael Krancer has said he’s the boss who wants to hear whatever you think he doesn’t want to hear. He is a public official, after all, and perhaps the most pivotal figure aside from the governor when it comes to establishing the policies and enforcing the new regulations that may, or may not, protect my family’s drinking water. So I take this as an open invitation. You should, too.

This is the first letter in my latest correspondence campaign. Help yourself, edit it or pen your own, just remember to mail it! Personal letters, studies have shown, garner the most attention. I’ll keep you posted.

To learn more about the Pennsylvania Regional Stream Re-Designation Petition, visit: PACleanWaterCampaign.org

To sign a letter in support of the petition, go to: DelawareRiverkeeper.org.

November 4, 2011

Sec. Michael Krancer                            
PA Department of Environmental Protection
Rachel Carson State Office Building
400 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101

Dear Secretary Krancer:
I am writing to urge you to support raising the Upper and Middle Delaware River to “Exceptional Value” (EV) status. The Delaware River and its many tributaries are a treasure for our state, vital to the well-being of 15.6 million people and many more species. That’s 42% of Pennsylvania residents, 34% of New Jersey residents, 81% of Delaware residents, and 35% of New York residents.

As you are no doubt aware, The Delaware is the largest un-dammed river east of the Mississippi, flowing freely for 330 miles, with diverse wildlife, including forty species of fish. The headwaters are home to many currently threatened and endangered species, including populations of native freshwater mussels in the main stem and tributaries which help filter the water we drink. Pike County alone has over 550 species that are considered threatened or endangered.

Historically dubbed “The Little Giant,” The Delaware River Basin is one of the most productive water sources in the mid-Atlantic, supplying about 5% of the nation’s population. The Delaware River delivers 1,803 mgd (millions of gallons per day) to public water supplies. Though it’s a relatively small watershed, roughly .4% of the land mass of the continental US, it provides more drinking water than any adjacent basin. Is this what you meant by quoting Nicholas DeBenedictis in saying, “It’s more water than we know what to do with”?

When you consider that $22 billion is currently generated by this watershed, according to a recent University of Delaware study, I think it’s safe to say that Pennsylvanians know exactly what to do with it. They put it to good use everyday fishing, boating, farming, brewing, hiking and hunting. Failure to fully protect this exceptional watershed devalues many established industries, and will ultimately rend the socio-economic fabric of the commonwealth. The Delaware River provides considerable economic value to Pennsylvania, isn’t it only wise to protect this traditional asset?

Please consider supporting the July 2011 Pennsylvania Regional Stream Re-Designation Petition. It calls for main stem Delaware River and all Pennsylvania tributaries that flow into the Upper and Middle Delaware River to be re-designated from their current status of “High Quality or lower” to “Exceptional Value” status. This designation is reserved for the state’s cleanest and healthiest streams. Right now, there are only 3,300 miles of streams in Pennsylvania with EV status and about 23,000 miles with HQ designation. The Delaware River meets several of the qualifiers put forth in the anti-degradation guidelines, and they are summarized in the petition.

Thank you for your consideration, and for your work protecting our state’s most vital natural resource.

Liz Rosenbaum

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