DRBC Members Admit Gas Drilling and Fracking Is Safe? What Gives?

PennFuture - Tom ShepstoneTom Shepstone
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Members of the DRBC considering a fracking ban have just admitted the gas drilling and fracking are safe. What kind of political chicanery is going on here?

The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) is composed of five members consisting of the states of Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania plus the Federal government represented by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Susquehanna River Basin Commission (DRBC) is composed of four members consisting of the states of Maryland New York and Pennsylvania plus the Federal government represented by the Army Corps of Engineers.

The majority of both commissions consists of the same parties. What the SRBC knows, the DRBC knows and vice-versa. Moreover, they operate under virtually identical compacts. Both provide drinking water for millions. Yet, DRBC is pretending the threats to drinking water are so great that fracking must be banned, while the SRBC is admitting it is safe and has had no impact on water quality. Why is the DRBC lying?

DRBC Members

What I’m talking about is the recent DRBC resolution to consider a ban on fracking, which included this justification:

“the combination of hydraulic fracturing with horizontal drilling and related activities for extracting natural gas from tight shale formations presents risks, vulnerabilities and impacts to surface and ground water resources across the country”

Meanwhile, the DRBC members who sit on the SRBC just released the latest results of an extensive long-running water quality assessment on the Susquehanna River basin where they have allowed gas drilling and fracking for a decade. It says this:

“In 2010, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (Commission) established a real-time, continuous remote water quality monitoring network (RWQMN) to monitor headwater streams for potential impacts from unconventional natural gas drilling and other activities in the Basin. At the time, the natural gas industry was rapidly growing in the Basin and the majority of the activity was located near headwater streams where water quality data were scarce…

..the Commission’s remote water quality monitoring network has not detected discernible impacts on the quality of the Basin’s water resources as a result of natural gas development

This isn’t the first time the DRBC members saw these results, either. They’ve been getting the data every single year, as we reported here and here, for example. So why are these DRBC members lying? And, when I’m saying these DRBC members, I’m talking about the New York and Pennsylvania members; the appointed designees of the two governors who actually attend meetings and vote, that is to say Mark Klotz of New York DEC and Lisa Daniels of Pennsylvania DEP.

Surely they know of the SRBC water quality studies; there’s no way they cannot know as their states—their agencies—vote as members of the SRBC. Lisa Daniels, in fact, is the designated Pennsylvania alternate for both the DRBC and SRBC. For her to not know is impossible, yet her state voted for a resolution stating something in direct conflict with her experience and knowledge. How can this data be ignored?

It’s easy if your governor is a demagogue such as Andrew Cuomo or, in Pennsylvania’s case, Tom Wolf. Experience, knowledge, facts, laws, logic, laws or science have zero to do with any decision. It’s all about political pandering to core constituent groups necessary to appease. Lisa Daniels and Mark Klotz only do what they’re told. That’s what’s going on here and why the SRBC data is being ignored.

The only remedy is to confront the lying DRBC members with what’s directly in front of their eyes and cannot be ignored; years of detailed data showing these same people when they wear their other hats as SRBC members have “not detected discernible impacts on the quality of the Basin’s water resources as a result of natural gas development.” Shove it in their faces by posting it on Facebook, tweeting it on Twitter (#NoMoreDRBCLies) and sharing it everywhere we can. Get busy! Tell those DRBC members to stop lying!

 

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