Archive for the ‘PA Drinking Water’ Category

Don’t Drill The Delaware!

January 19, 2017

An Urgent Call to Action from the Delaware Riverkeeper Network 

Please sign the letter,”Tell DRBC: Permanent ban on fracking now!” Once again, shale gas development threatens the Delaware River Basin, a national treasure, and the drinking water source for 17 million people.

“There seems to be new interest on the part of DRBC staff to rekindle the development of gas development regulations, which would lift the current moratorium.  We must tell the DRBC that NOW IS THE TIME to enact a permanent ban on all gas development, including drilling and fracking, in the Delaware River Watershed.” – Delaware Riverkeeper Network

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Photo: Susan Phillips, NPR

TAKE ACTION:

Support the call for the Delaware River Basin Commission to adopt a ban on gas and oil development in the Delaware River Watershed. Sign on to the letter to the Governors of the four states that flow to the Delaware River and tributary streams – Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Delaware – and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as the federal representative, to immediately adopt a ban on all oil and gas development in the Delaware River Watershed.

Tell DRBC: Enact a Permanent Ban on Fracking NOW!

If you are a member of an organization who would like to sign on to the effort to ban fracking in the Delaware River Watershed, please sign here.

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Don’t Frack The Gap!  Photo: National Parks Conservation

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Keep Watershed Science Safe

January 17, 2017

How Will Ambient Delaware River Water Quality Assessment Data Fare Under Trump’s Tiny Thumb?

‘What we’re seeing is environmental McCarthyism,’ said Patricia Kim, a graduate fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Program in Environmental Humanities, of the incoming administration. She was commenting at a ‘guerrilla archiving eventat the University of Toronto in December, 2016, which was aimed at informing climate scientists how best to preserve climate data ahead of the Trump presidency.

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There’s No Replacin’ A River Basin

The Delaware River Basin Commission reports regularly on water quality issues pertaining to the watershed. Published data sets are posted online here:  http://www.nj.gov/drbc/quality/datum/

Keeping the database is part of the DRBC’s responsibility, according to law, passed by congress in 1961. Nevertheless, now would be a great time to acknowledge this essential and invaluable public service, and to assure the DRBC of our support for the protection of their data along with our drinking water supply.

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Dredging Up The Past

January 11, 2017

The Delaware River Basin didn’t suffer terribly during the Obama administration, but it didn’t exactly thrive, either. Thanks, Obama?

President Barrack Obama always seemed to understand that water is life, yet freshwater protection has not always been the divining rod in his decisions. If that were so, he would have banned fracking in the Delaware River Basin when he had the chance.

Donald Trump is a threat to every last watershed in the country, as he and his shale-happy appointees have promised to extract every last penny from an expensive and grossly overestimated supply. They honestly don’t care if you can set your water on fire. And if the result should be more costly access to a diminishing supply of safe, clean drinking water, then they’ll probably try to profit off that, too.

So, while the mainstream media is having its long overdue existential crisis, ordinary bloggers are left to chronicle Obama’s legacy and its impact on our drinking water supply, and to find new ways to help protect our precious fresh water. Me, I like lists.

Seven Things Obama Did – And Didn’t Do – For The Delaware River Basin …

# 7   He Left It At Moratorium

Obama could have banned fracking in the Delaware River Basin in 2011, but he didn’t.

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Donald Trump Is Like Rock Snot

December 1, 2016

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.

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Didymo, often referred to as rock snot, kind of looks like Donald Trump’s hair.
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.

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Toxic Textbooks: Governor Wolf Attempts To Fund Education With A Frack Tax

February 12, 2015

The Tax `n Frack era is upon us.

On Wednesday, February 11, 2015, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced to a classroom full of Thorndale elementary students that he plans to tax shale gas drillers to pay for things like textbooks, and the laminated weather map hanging ironically on the wall behind him.

Tying education funding to a single, cyclical, heavy industry, and one with a wildly variable price at that, is bad business for the state. Wolf should know that no tax will ever begin to cover their true tab, or replace what they are presently destroying.

While he’s at it, Wolf might ask gas drillers to print up some new textbooks, too. Otherwise, Pennsylvania school children might learn about the legacy of toxic pollution that they and our legislators are leaving behind.

Remember Talisman Terry, the friendly Fracosaurus? He was featured in a propa-ganza enriched coloring book published for Pennsylvania school children, and hilariously immortalized by Stephen Colbert in 2011.

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Pennsylvanians Against Fracking and Delaware Riverkeeper have issued a joint press release, clearly stating that the severance tax is “an unsustainable quick fix.”

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Will Governor Wolf listen to the science about fracking?

January 20, 2015

Dear Governor Wolf,

Montgomery and Bucks are the only counties in Pennsylvania where there’s a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing. We don’t see rigs from our front porches, or continuous flares. We don’t get headaches from strange odors, or drive on crumbling roads clogged by endless truck traffic. In the Philadelphia suburbs, it’s easy to ignore the health and environmental impacts of Marcellus shale gas drilling.

When the shale gas industry arrived nearly a decade ago, it was still somewhat plausible to insist that there’s “no proof” gas drilling has ever polluted water supplies. Today, there’s plenty of proof. In 2014, The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection reported 248 cases of water supply contamination since 2007. Nationwide, there are more. (more…)

The Year Of The Ban – 2014

December 28, 2014

Fracking Bans Sweep Across North America, And That Was Just The Month Of December

A steady uptick in citizen activism, and a broadening awareness of hydraulic fracturing’s negative impact on everything from climate to wildlife to water, resulted in successful anti-fracking measures on ballots across North America in 2014. Then, in mid-December, the state of New York banned it. They’re not the first, Vermont holds that distinction, yet they are the first state with significant shale gas reserves to do so. People are pumped.

Naturally, the issue is emotionally charged. Shale gas development not only damages land, air and water, it destroys people’s lives. Fracking promises to be a factor in the upcoming 2016 Presidential race. Let’s make of sure of it.

Despite customarily downplaying the successes of the anti-fracking movement in the media, activists across the county have racked up a handful of amazing, longshot victories. Fracking bans were won, far and wide, and they can be found in the unlikeliest places.

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Pennies From Heaven, Pollution From Hell

November 19, 2014

Recently, my son wrote an essay about hidden costs. He discussed the heavy toll that certain industries, like factory farming and clothing manufacture, take on humanity and our environment when they externalize their true costs. Naturally, it got me thinking about the external costs of fracking.

One of the biggest hidden costs of Marcellus shale gas development will be a significant reduction in the number of clean, fresh drinking water supplies for future generations.

PA watersheds have endured a history of environmental degradation from a variety of sources such as logging, agricultural run-off and acid mine drainage, to name just a few. But while it’s true that many threats to our water supplies are long-standing, we can’t ignore the fact that they now face a much more serious, imminent threat.

The instances of fresh water contamination in Pennsylvania have increased dramatically since hydraulic fracturing began.

As fracking booms, waste spills rise — and so do arsenic levels in groundwaterReporter: Reid Frazier, Writer: Adam Wernic, Living on Earth, Public Radio International, November 18, 2014.

How can we not worry? The business of shale gas is predicated on taking public risks for the purpose of private gain. All it requires, apparently, is a pricey ad campaign and couple of slick publicity stunts.

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River of Doubt: Ex-Water Exec Appointed New DRBC Chief

March 11, 2014

What’s it gonna be, Steven Tambini?

As former Vice President of Operations at Pennsylvania American Water, who also previously served on the board of trustees for the American Water Works Association and the Water Resources Association of the Delaware River Basin, the National Association of Water Companies – Pennsylvania Section, Steven (don’t forget the Rancocas Conservancy) Tambini seems like the ultimate water industry insider. Just sayin.

Mr. Tambini’s work on both the Pennsylvania and New Jersey sides of the Delaware River has allowed him to develop and build relationships with regulators and stakeholders throughout the basin,” states the Delaware River Basin Commission press release.

Somebody ought to ask Mr. Tambini to define exactly who those “stakeholders” are. I want to have faith, really, but Tambini’s resume is pretty thin on conservation, and darn heavy on extending private water industry interests. One can’t help but worry that he will be inclined to keep on carrying water for the water industry. (more…)

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…)

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.

Marcellus Spills Fill PA Waterways

July 25, 2013

“Pretty Please” Doesn’t Stop Surface Discharges

Nearly everyday it seems there’s a new report of Marcellus shale gas waste spilling in Pennsylvania’s wetlands and streams, DEP violations like this recent “discharge” reported by SkyTruth:

Issued to Energy Corporation of America on July 22, 2013 — Code 307CSL: Discharge of unconventional industrial drilling waste to waters of Commonwealth without a permit in Clearfield, Girard Township (ID#673076)

And this large spill reported by Laura Legere in DEP: Spill At Well Site Seeps Into House, Miniature Horse Farm in The Times Tribune on May 1, 2013:

An unknown amount of the fluid escaped the pad, flowed down a hill, crossed a road and entered the basement and garage of a nearby farmhouse, Ms. Connolly said. It soaked property at the horse farm, whose owners were out of state, but a farmhand kept the animals safely away from the fluid.

On both sides of the shale gas safety debate, experts agree that “surface spills” hold the greatest threat for surface water and groundwater contamination. Pennsylvania, by the way, is home to more fresh water resources than any other state in the continental U.S.

Surface spills of fracturing fluids appear to pose greater risks to groundwater than hydraulic fracturing itself,” writes Bryan R. Walsh in Shale Gas: It’s Not the Fracking That Might Be the Problem. It’s Everything Else, Time Magazine, on February 17, 2012. While Walsh pays short shrift the long term impacts of deteriorating wellbore seals, his premise certainly rings true right now. Every week, we see more spills, more overturned tankers and leaky valves, each one a small-scale, highly toxic event unto itself, and it invariably concludes with a dead stream and DEP asking drillers to promise not do it again.

A Water-Tight Case?

And then there are spills so big and negligent that the EPA has no choice but to step in and sue the driller, as is the case of this EXXON/XTO Energy violation, reported earlier this week:

US Sues Exxon Fracker in Pennsylvania Over Polluted Drinking Water:  A federal lawsuit claims hydraulic fracking has polluted public drinking waters in Pennsylvania with toxic wastes by Erin McAuley, AlterNet, July 24, 2013

Yup, it’s true. Obama Administration Sues Exxon for Polluting Pennsylvania Drinking Water with Toxic Fracking Waste, AllGov.com, July 24, 2013   (more…)

161 Reasons You Can’t Trust The DEP

May 22, 2013

Pennsylvania State Documents Reveal Rampant Water Contamination In Gas Sacrifice Zones  

Several excellent articles have been posted recently about the inadequate, often shoddy, records keeping practices of The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. They’re linked here and shouldn’t be missed. Bottom line is, if you think PA DEP is actively protecting Pennsylvania’s water supplies from the impacts of shale gas drilling, think again.

In Open Records Case Produced Untracked Drilling Documents The Times-Tribune, May 19, 2013, Laura Legere writes:

Scattered records kept by the state Department of Environmental Protection offer one answer to a key question in a new age of fossil fuel extraction in Pennsylvania: How many water supplies have been damaged by drilling?

Gas proponents might continue to insist that gas drilling has never damaged a single water supply, yet we now know there are plenty of instances where it has. As it turns out, PA DEP knows this, too, though they had to be sued to produce the evidence. They claimed, unsuccessfully, that the public records requested by The Times-Trbune were “too burdensome” to find. In The Times-Tribune’s Sunday Times Review of DEP Drilling Records Reveals Water Damage, Murky Testing Methods, Legere reviews the pages eventually furnished by the civil servants of this hyper-reluctant state agency:
“State environmental regulators determined that oil and gas development damaged the water supplies for at least 161 Pennsylvania homes, farms, churches and businesses between 2008 and the fall of 2012, according to a cache of nearly 1,000 letters and enforcement orders written by Department of Environmental Protection officials and obtained by The Sunday Times.”

The Times-Tribune editors have even included a detailed groundwater complaints map with the help of the genius geeks at FracTracker.org, “a non-profit organization that collects, shares and visualizes data related to the oil and gas industry.

Drilling Complaints Map, The Times-Tribune, May 19, 2013.   (more…)

Everyday People, Harmed Everyday

April 15, 2013

Pennsylvania Stands Witness To The Adverse Impacts of Shale Gas Drilling

More than 1,208 individuals have gone on record (to date) on The List of The Harmed. The list is meticulously compiled by Jenny Lisak of The Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air. It’s got to be a full time job, as the number of people harmed easily keeps apace with drilling.

Even a list as long as this can’t do justice to the people whose lives have been ruined along with their land, air and water.

Ready or not, Americans have to make a choice. They can believe the slick TV ads, buying into the false promise of safe shale gas, or they can try to understand what impacts large-scale, industrial hydrofracking really brings to our ecology, landscapes and the communities who inhabit them. They can listen to the experiences of people living in the new gaslands of Pennsylvania, and not just the stories that grab headlines, but the common, garden variety suffering wrought by a single extreme extraction industry.

Postcards From The Sacrifice Zone 

Rebecca Roter and Frank Finan listen. They listen to their neighbors and friends, and they speak out. They relay the stories they hear, and they encourage others to share their experiences, too.

Document Your Shale Related Health Complaint with the PA Dept of Health is an open facebook event inviting people to:

Stand witness, encourage friends and family with skin rashes, upper respiratory problems, etc that appear shale related to DOCUMENT your experiences in your own voice, let a volunteer health advocate make sure the Dept of Health DOES ITS job and takes your shale related health complaint. Help save the next generation, so the claim cannot be made there are no health impacts in shale corridors. Impacted individuals can call Volunteer Health Care Advocate Celeen Miller 215-680-1452, 215-249-3619, 800-200-2229 to report complaints. Call Dr McKenzie, 215-662-2354, University of Pennsylvania, Occupational Medicine, for treatment.

Max Chilson, As Told By Frank Finan:   (more…)

We Are What We Frack: The Animal Farm

February 3, 2013

The Impacts of Drilling on Human and Animal Health

Groundbreaking Study Presented 

Researchers Robert Oswald PhD & Michelle Bamberger, MS, DVM  offer viewers “a general introduction to the potential hazards associated with shale gas development. Specifically, it will draw on the descriptive epidemiology and case studies of Drs. Bamberger and Oswald to examine how and why animals can be used as sentinels for human health.

Harbingers of Human Wellbeing

Published on Jan 30, 2013, Continuing Medical Education (CME) Activity Jointly Sponsored by Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy and the Medical Society of the State of New York. Source: YouTube

 

It’s Only The River – Updated

January 30, 2013

We All Live Downstream

Take The PLEDGE To Protect The Delaware River And Its Tributaries 

“These legal challenges are vital opportunities for protecting our communities from the damage that pipelines bring, as well as the devastation brought by the drilling and fracking these pipeliens induce and support.

“There are not many organizations with the resolve or the resources to pursue legal claims on behalf of the River and our communities the way the Delaware Riverkeeper Network does.”  

~ Maya van Rossum, Delaware River Voice

Via Delaware Riverkeeper Network:

If the Delaware River Basin Commission, the Governors of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware or Maryland, the President of the United States, or any of our state or national leaders permit any processes or infrastructure in support of shale gas development in any part of the Delaware River Watershed, I pledge to join with others to engage in lawful non-violent acts of protest, including demonstrations and other lawful non-violent actions, as my conscience leads me.” ~ Pledge of Protection For The Delaware River Watershed

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URGENT ACTION NEEDED!

The Delaware River Basin needs protection right now. New gas drilling activities such as high pressure gas pipeline networks, slated for high value streams and tributaries, threaten to destroy the quality of our water supply. Special Protections were created for our fresh drinking water resources, yet they have been systematically eroded by a single industry – unconventional shale gas production – whose influence extends throughout Harrisburg and Washington, and along both sides of the aisle.

The Delaware River is an irreplaceable source of drinking water for 17 million people…  Spills, leaks, explosions, and toxic air emissions do not belong the most productive watershed in the Northeastern United States. Don’t Let Gas Drillers Frack OUR Watershed!

To learn more and take the pledge, CLICK HERE.

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Protect the Susquehanna River!

Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper

On Facebook, visit:  Corbett & Obama Must Protect The Susquehanna From Fracking

 

Go Frack-Free In 2013!

December 29, 2012

Resolve to get more involved in the incredible fossil-free grassroots movement that’s been springing up across the USA. No one should be an energy company guinea pig! Help your community maintain control over rampant, unregulated shale gas fracking, toxic waste water, pipelines, compressor stations and dehydration units. Chances are – wherever you are – there’s a local group fighting for our right to clean air, land and water.   (more…)

Merry Christmas, Mighty Delaware

December 23, 2012

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On December 25, 1776, in the middle of a dark winter night, General George Washington crossed the icy Delaware River from Pennsylvania to New Jersey. Artist Mort Künstler strives for historical accuracy to depict a most realistic image of Washington’s perilous yet ultimately successful journey. From Crossing the Delaware, More Accurately by Corey Kilgannon, New York Times blog.

         Happy Holidays, Fractivists and Fractivistas!

                                                   Ever In Solidarity, Liz

Pipeline Destruction Is Coming To Town

December 20, 2012

Document Pre-Pipeline Stream Conditions in The Delaware River

DECEMBER 22-23, 2012

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network needs your help:

We have 19 days to stop this fracked gas pipeline from cutting through healthy pristine habitat and rural communities   (more…)

DRBC: The Delaware River BS Commission

December 11, 2012

[Updated: December 13, 2012]

Science Has No Agenda, Right?

The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) is the only governing body standing between fracking pollution and the fresh drinking water for 15.6 million people living in the Mid-Atlantic megapolis – a full 5% of the US population. So what is the DRBC doing to protect this precious, highly productive watershed from volatile shale gas pipelines and extreme fossil fuel extraction? Lately, not much.

The DRBC is an interstate commission, which is not a common thing. It’s comprised of the governors of PA, NY, NJ and DE (or their representatives), plus a representative of the Federal Government from The Army Corps of Engineers. It was created because the citizens in these states deemed the protection of their shared freshwater resources important enough to warrant utmost oversight and protection. That was 1961.

Today, DRBC commissioners act like children with mouths full of candy. It’s difficult to get a straight answer out of them, even at their own public meetings.   (more…)