He’s slimy, offensive and a threat to the ecology.
Like rock snot, Trump’s proposed policies would be devastating to Pennsylvania’s watersheds. Like rock snot, a Trump administration may be a danger to the drinking water of 17 million people in the Delaware River Watershed. Like rock snot, Trump jeopardizes the integrity of our state’s tourist economy. Plus, he’s just gross.
Didymosphenia geminata, or Didymo, is a single celled, invasive algae. “Thick mats of Didymo can crowd out or smother more biologically valuable algae growing on the riverbed. Didymo is easily spread, and the chance of it hitchhiking its way into nearby streams or rivers that currently lack this unwanted invader is cause for alarm.”
According to Reince Priebus, Trump’s White House chief of staff, climate denial is the president-elect’s official default position. While the rest of the world scoffs, Trump has repeatedly promised to boost gas and coal. He is currently, albeit quietly, appointing frackers and climate change deniers to top cabinet posts. The current frontrunners in The Appointee Apprentice are Myron Ebell for EPA Chief, and fracking billionaire, Harold Hamm, for Secretary of Energy, swamp-dwelling industry insiders both. Hamm is, by way of his adultery, the current record holder for most expensive divorce of all time.
Rock snot sticks to your shoes and spreads easily, so you need to check very closely. With similar vigilance, Pennsylvanians need to pay special attention to these fossil fools because they plan to expand fracking in the Marcellus Shale, big time.
In Donald Trump, in Pittsburgh, Pledges to Boost Both Coal and Gas, September 22, 2016, Coral Davenport reports Trump bragged to an audience of chief executives from the energy industry in Pittsburgh, “The shale energy revolution will unleash massive wealth for America!”
Trump also intends to deregulate U.S. energy production, at an arbitrary rate of 2:1, that’s two regulations cancelled for every new regulation enacted. He will ramp up exports of volatile Natural Gas Liquids, wherein Pennsylvanians will incur the waste, pollution and depleted water supplies, and private corporations profit wildly off selling cheap shale gas products to other countries. If we’re not on our toes, the port of Philadelphia, where the Delaware River both widens and deepens, will become a stinking, toxic fossil fuel depot euphemistically called an Energy Hub. If you think I am freaking out, imagining something out of an Ayn Rand novel, you are right.
I’m not the only one. Coalitions such as Green Justice Philly, Food and Water Watch, Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia and Tricounty Sustainable Alliance in New Jersey press on in the fight for a “Green Economy for All” in the basin.
With Trump, we should be very concerned about the fate of agencies like the EPA and legislation such as The Clean Water Act, but here in the Mid-Atlantic states, what happens to the DRBC, a little known yet terribly important interstate water protection agency, is a more urgent concern. Given the volume of toxic waste that Trump would like to dump on the citizens of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Delaware, we really do owe it to ourselves to protect our water supply,The Delaware River, right now.
Special Waters Need Special Protections
The Delaware River Basin Commission was established in 1961 by President Kennedy and the governors of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Delaware, the commission was to protect the drinking water for the millions of people who rely on this vital resource. So concerned were these Mid-Atlantic statesmen about this particular watershed, that they ushered the compact legislation into law, “creating a regional body with the force of law to oversee a unified approach to managing a river system without regard to political boundaries.” NPR’s StateImpact Pennsylvania provides a more detailed background of the DRBC in Delaware River Basin Commission: Battleground for Gas Drilling.
The Delaware River is unique. It stretches nearly 400 miles from its headwaters near Hancock, New York, to the mouth of the Delaware Bay. It’s one of the only free-flowing major rivers remaining in the eastern United States. Flowing south, it eventually sluices past Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware and, yes, it’s the same historic river that George Washington crossed in 1776.
Because the Delaware River watershed produces much more fresh water compared to other watersheds of similar size, it even has a nickname. It’s known among hydrogeologists as “The Little Giant.” If you’re keen to learn more about this magnificent river system, I highly recommend the 2013 documentary film, Triple Divide by Public Herald Studios.
As it stands, the DRBC commissioners are the only people who stand between our precious watershed and the toxic pollution of shale gas drilling. Together, they can uphold the current moratorium on drilling in the Delaware River Basin, they can even enact a permanent ban, or not. The current moratorium on fracking in the basin exists solely because DRBC declined to approve proposed drilling regulations in 2011.
DRBC is already under new fire as two Republican Northeastern PA state senators, no doubt emboldened by Trump & Co., have sought to join a lawsuit filed in May 2016 by a handful of disgruntled landowners who want to frack on their acreage but can’t because it’s located within the watershed. The complaint is aimed at DRBC’s legal right to govern. It ignores both the law, and the Pennsylvania Medical Society’s recent call for a statewide moratorium on new drilling permits. In reality, the lawsuit is about putting private profit ahead of public risk, and it’s exactly why the DRBC was commissioned in the first place.
Greed Is Nothing New
Environmental protection groups are pulling together to protect and advocate for The Little Giant, and none more so than the Delaware Riverkeeper Network. DRN is actively engaged in the legal battle to keep fracking out of the Delaware. In September 2016, the DRN intervention was granted to protect the moratorium.
“The Delaware River and its watershed are a vital resource for the four states of our region,” said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper and leader of the regional nonprofit organization, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network. “Given the clearly demonstrated devastating impacts of drilling and fracking for gas, the DRBC’s authority over shale gas extraction is legally clear and strong.”
The industry hacks at Marcellus Drilling News had initially cried foul, whining loudly in Delaware Riverkeeper “Intervenes” to Protect its Patsy – the DRBC, Marcellus Drilling News, July 8, 2016. But the U.S. District Court Judge upheld the DRN’s right to intervene. The law was on their side. In October, 2016, however, three NEPA state senators led by Lisa Baker [R-20th] joined the landowners in their suit.
I suspect the fight is about to get nasty.
Obviously, The Donald will never acknowledge the fact that we all live downstream, but should he and his basket of frackers have the impulse to drill in the Upper Delaware, they will likely do so by defunding the DRBC, or attempting to decommission it.
Remarkably, Kennedy and those far-thinking governors thought of that, too: Riverkeeper petitions DRBC to implement decades-old rule, Bruce A. Scruton, New Jersey Herald, May 9, 2016.
TAKE A STAND – No Fracking In The Delaware!
The Delaware River has never been more imperiled. One way to protect our precious watershed is to ensure that DRBC is able to perform its intended function despite pressure from the incoming administration. No matter where you live, love your watershed every chance you get!
3 Great Places to Start:
The Delaware Riverkeeper Network is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting our the river, its tributaries, watersheds and wetlands. Click here to learn about Urgent Help Needed. Read the PETITION TO SECURE FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DRBC SPECIAL PROTECTION WATERS OBLIGATIONS (FULL TEXT) here.
Pennsylvanians Against Fracking is a statewide coalition of groups representing a diversity of issues, backgrounds and locations, united in the mission of achieving a ban on fracking in the commonwealth. Join the Pennsylvanians Against Fracking public group on Facebook to keep current on news, efforts and actions.