Archive for November, 2013

There’s No Replacin’ A River Basin

November 26, 2013

It’s Time To Save The Delaware River From Fracking, For Good

Food & Water Watch wants you to know that the Special Protection Waters of the Delaware River Basin are more endangered than ever.

For the past two years, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) has upheld a moratorium on fracking in the Delaware River Basin due to massive public outcry. But right now, Carol Collier is calling for a strategy around gas drilling in the basin before she retires as executive director in March. Join us by telling President Obama and the governors of NY, NJ, DE and PA that the only strategy we support is a ban on fracking!

Gas drillers want in. They want to produce and transport, and to frack, baby, frack. DRBC’s Collier has indicated that she intends bring a new drilling “strategy” to a vote before departing her post. It may be her idea of a legacy, though I certainly wouldn’t want all those undisclosed chemicals on my conscience.

President Obama – the man who campaigned on a pledge for a sustainable energy future yet now favors the term “energy independence” – may well deliver the deciding vote on the DRBC via the federal Army Corps of Engineers. Conscience, per se, probably won’t factor much into that decision.

As ever, the only way to protect the Delaware River Basin from the massive impacts of shale gas industrialization is with massive pubic outcry.

Permanent Protection 

Start by adding your name to the the growing list of Americans who oppose expanding our dependence on fossil fuels, along with any plans to allow shale gas drilling the Delaware River Basin. Sign the Food and Water Watch letter addressed to President Obama and the governors of New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania, Protect the Delaware River Basin With a Ban on Fracking

Let legislators know that the only long-term strategy for protecting the Delaware River Basin is a permanent ban on fracking.   (more…)

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A Ban In The Basin

November 23, 2013

Take Note: DRBC Wants To Vote On Shale Gas Drilling Regulations

It’s time once again to save the Delaware River basin from the toxic impacts of shale gas drilling.

At the next public hearing of the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), on Tuesday, December 3, 2013, a coalition of concerned advocacy groups will present a scrapbook entitled The Delaware Is Me.

The idea is to celebrate the Delaware River and commemorate another year without fracking. The point is to show the commission why this high-value, highly productive watershed ought to be spared from the ravages of industrial shale gas drilling.

The magnificent, historic Delaware River touches 15.6 million lives, and extraordinary photographs has been literally flowing in. As you may have guessed, no two images – or reasons – are alike. You can glimpse some of the photos and join the event on Facebook at The Delaware Is Me, or follow on Twitter #TheDelawareIsMe.

Better still, attend the public hearing and stand behind watershed advocates and activists in Trenton on December 3rd.

BAN IN THE BASIN

The Delaware Is Me project is co-hosted by Green Door Magazine, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy.

SB1171 Would Nearly Double Renewable Energy In Pennsylvania

November 14, 2013

Naturally, The GOP’s Gonna Hate It

On November 12, 2013, State Senator Daylin Leach [D-Montgomery/Delaware] introduced new Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) legislation, SB1171, aimed at reducing Pennsylvania’s dependance on fossil fuels. Leach was flanked by State Representative Greg Vitali [D-Delaware], who is sponsoring companion legislation in the house (HB100), and Tom Schuster, who represented about 24,000 Sierra Club members in Pennsylvania.

SB1171 is already supported by the majority of economic and environmental stakeholders in the state, including Blue-Green Alliance, Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition and PennFuture. Makes sense, too, in this age of super storms and carbon thresholds, and given the fact that Pennsylvania is the third highest carbon producing state in the nation, right? Tell it to the Mayberry Machiavellians in Harrisburg, please.

What’s 8% Of Lame?

Under current state law, passed in 2007, Pennsylvania’s power generating utilities must acquire 8% of their energy from renewable sources. Last time I checked, natural gas was not considered a renewable in Pennsylvania, though in Texas the definition gets a little hazy.

Time, technology and other states have passed us by,” said to Leach to Kevin Gavin and Haldan Kirsch in PA Lags In Renewables, on 90.5 WESA NPR Pittsburgh on November 12, 2013.   (more…)

Get Your Phil: Colorado Frackbusters Presents The Truth About Fracking

November 11, 2013

Phil Doe Covers The Water Issue “To The Point Where You’re Gonna Be Pretty Angry” ~ Frackbusters

This short video, Truth About Fracking, features retired U.S. Bureau of Reclamation official, Phil Doe, speaking about fresh water protection to a packed house in Colorado Springs, Colorado on January 10, 2013. It’s part three of four in a series on YouTube. 

Doe is concise, yet his message is sobering and universal. He opens with a quote from British poet, W. H. Audin: “Thousands have lived without love, but nobody has lived without water.”

You should all be concerned about where your water is going… You should protect it.” ~ Phil Doe. Uploaded by GrowthBusters.org.

Being The Change  

Public interest in the event was so great that organizers shared the series online. Thanks to educational outreach events like these, environmental groups in the Rocky Mountain State have successfully raised awareness about the impacts and dangers associated with fracking.

Recently, Colorado voters in three cities approved moratoriums or bans, as was reported by Michael Wines in Colorado Cities’ Rejections of Fracking Poses Political Test for  Natural Gas Industry in The New York Times on Sunday, November 7, 2013; and in Colorado Voters Tell Fracking Industry to Frack Off, and by John Upton in Grist, November 6, 2013.  

For information about “events and happenings related to this issue” in Colorado, or simply to find some inspiration, visit the Frackbusters Facebook page.

What’s It Gonna Be, DRBC?

November 1, 2013

Deciding The Fate Of “The Little Giant”

Outgoing Delaware River Basin Commission Director, Carol Collier, has done an impressive job withstanding extreme political pressure. I’ve been highly critical of the DRBC, yet I do believe Collier deserves our gratitude – as long as she doesn’t do anything rash.

The small interstate agency has received sharp letters of admonition from an impatient, gas-happy governor, experienced even sharper budget cuts, and suffered an uneasy tension with an increasingly feckless PA DEP.  By July, 2013, the working relationship between the two agencies had deteriorated so badly that former DEP secretary, and current gubernatorial candidate, John Hanger informed readers of The Times-Tribune that “DRBC Should Have ‘No Confidence’ In Corbett’s Drilling Oversight.

It’s true, DRBC has approved too many pipelines.  In March 2013, Maya van Rossum, The Delaware Riverkeeper pressed the Commission on the need for greater oversight of planned projects. Deforestation and watershed fragmentation are growing concerns, as are leaks, ruptures and explosions.

dinner_collier_9042

But generally speaking, under Collier’s leadership, DRBC has stood firm in the face the mighty gas extraction lobby, and it has managed to keep them at bay, and protect our vital, shared fresh water resources all this while. For this, we owe Collier our thanks. She must be exhausted.

Carol Collier, DRBC  Credit:  www.nj.gov

At this point, it seems unlikely that Collier, who departs in March, 2014, will rally a vote on gas drilling regulations in the Delaware River basin, but one never knows. All you can do is check the DRBC website from time to time.

Taking the long view, however, has been a hallmark of Collier’s tenure. Meetings are long and tedious, populated by scientists and engineers, and packed with data. Collier has led the agency along this plodding, empirical course for the past 15 years, so there’s little reason to suspect she’s planning to suddenly go out with a bang.   (more…)