DRBC Torment Won’t Stop Me from Defending the People of the Delaware

Otdoor Life - Shaughnessy

Bill Shaughnessy
Wayne County, Pennsylvania Landowner


Bill Shaughnessy fights for what he learned from his Dad and Mom and the people of the Delaware against the DRBC tyrants and their land use power grab.

Its been seven years almost to the day that I was sitting with my dying father, his family at his side, going over the lease we had just received from Hess through an alliance of neighbors known as NWPOA (Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance). It was not exactly a time of celebration, but my father took solace in knowing the 228 acres he and my mom had worked so hard to retain and improve for over the years was not only going to stay in the family indefinitely, but would shape the rest of the lives of his children, grandchildren, and beyond.

The property in Damascus Township we grew up on, learned to care for, respect, and protect would be able to give back for generations, yet still remain almost completely intact. He was aware of what was involved with hydraulic fracturing and studied the effects and leases from multiple gas companies before signing. He knew long after he was gone the future of our family would be changed forever. What my parents didn’t know was the battle that lay ahead with a relatively unknown entity at the time known as the DRBC.

A lot has happened since my Dad finally succumbed to Melanoma on January 2, 2010. My mother fell victim to Pancreatic Cancer in 2013. Now, the future and responsibility of our property is in my hands along with my brother and sisters. There have been many ups and downs in my life as well as countless others in the last seven years living in the Delaware River Basin.

Wayne County is a very special place to so many, including those who may not live there, but occasionally visit. It’s a changing climate from when I grew up there. In the 70’s I would go with my Dad on service calls to fix refrigeration systems on farmers’ bulk tanks. Our family not only serviced equipment on many local dairy farms but sold them what they needed for their milking machines.


Milk is stored on farm in these temperature-controlled, stainless steel bulk tanks until it can be picked up by the milk truck.

I saw first-hand what the local farmers, many of whom were and still are my friends to this day, went through on a daily basis. Their on call consisted of 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The farm never stopped, the work was never ending. It was a labor of love for the Wayne County dairy farmer. Unless you have witnessed a farm in action, my words cannot describe the hard work the local farmer has to put in through every type of weather, illness, or financial challenge.

We not only had dairy farms, but logging as well. There are also quarries that dot the landscape and thousands of jobs that either supported or benefited from the hard work of the above mentioned. That work ethic carried over into many of the people of the area and created true Americana, the realization of the American Dream to work hard and if times are tough……work harder. You can see this spirit to this day in my birth place of Honesdale.

Sadly today, many of those proud farms are rusted skeletons of a time gone by. Many of those loggers have taken other jobs to support their families. Many of my friends who once worked the family farm have been forced out of the area they love to find a living elsewhere. Construction, real estate, retail, employment, jobs—they all lag far behind what’s happening in neighboring Susquehanna County and beyond.

Many of the above mentioned could have been saved by harvesting their own minerals on their own private property with the leases that were signed seven years ago. Unfortunately the DRBC, environmental special interests such as the Delaware Riverkeeper, led by Maya van Rossum, the William Penn Foundation, Hollywood elites and others all decided that it was their duty to deprive these truly American citizens of their Constitutional rights, and the Governors of Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware and, yes, even New Jersey with its unjustified abstention, are all on board.


Damascus, PA Farm

The DRBC is an interesting government organization. For the purposes of this article, I’ll be brief as to its intended purpose and history, but let me simply say crimes are being perpetrated against private property owners within its jurisdiction as this agency makes a raw grab for power. Make no mistake, the jurisdiction of the DRBC can and will expand to cover everything imaginable if it’s allowed to interpret its own limits and its overreach is not immediately checked.

To understand what the battle in which land owners have been engaged the last seven years is all about, one must understand what the DRBC is and was intended to do. It was formed in 1961 by President Kennedy, representing the Federal government, and the Governors of Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. According to the DRBC website the Commission programs include “water quality protection, water supply allocation, regulatory review (permitting), water conservation initiatives, watershed planning, drought management, flood loss reduction, and recreation.” 

Pay particular attention to the italicized quotation. Notice that nowhere in that quote does it mention land use or anything related or anything about mineral. Our mineral rights are protected by a little piece of paper called the Constitution of the United States. The DRBC area of jurisdiction is water supply and the basin it regulates includes water reservoirs in New York that directly feed New York City. This is a very important fact when discussing Wayne and Pike County and the Delaware River because those reservoirs are located upstream of proposed drilling areas.


Also, the Delaware River, in fact, does not supply drinking water to 15-17 million people as so many media organizations, Wikipedia,and environmentalist groups mindlessly repeat. Philadelphia gets 60% of its drinking water from the Delaware River intakes at Torresdale in Northeast Philadelphia, roughly 180 Miles from Wayne County. The total population of Philadelphia in 2017 was 1,567,872. Multiply that by 0.60 and you get 940,723. Add the population of Easton, Port Jervis and plug in the miscellaneous others and you get nowhere near 15-17 million people alleged to be impacted by proposed gas drilling and fracking in Wayne and Pike Counties.

I challenge anyone to come up with a defendable calculation of that figure. It has been employed to create fear doubt in a general population that doesn’t take the time to look at the facts. Journalist after journalist (and I use the term loosely) have simply repeated it, as has the DRBC and agency after agency and there’s “no ‘there’ there” This fear and propaganda assisted the DRBC in voting last week to investigate a ban of hydraulic fracturing in Wayne and Pike counties.


Rafters float down the Delaware River in Pike County, Pa.

Let that sit in for a second. An organization that is not elected by you, is appointed by the governors of four states and the federal government, and has no federal oversight worth mentioning, has taken it upon itself to determine how you can and cannot harvest your minerals. Don’t think for a second the meat of my argument is about minerals alone. They have just stretched their authority to determine much more than that, and with the backing of environmental special interests, who sit on its very own committee’s, have the power to do so if their decree is allowed to stand.

Do you use fertilizer on your lawn? Water in your Pool? Would you like to cut trees on your property? Interested in building a foundation or “pad” for your dream home? The list goes on. You thought you had certain freedoms in this country? Well, they are being ripped away from Delaware River Basin citizens by these political hacks. Who will stop them?


I sit here and write this on Sunday, September 17, which is rather ironic being Constitution Day. I just gave you the moral argument against what Tom Wolf and the other voting governors of the DRBC have done. As for the legal argument, well, I am not a lawyer. In fact, I work two full time jobs selling both real estate and windows to provide for my family and give them a good life.

Sacrifice. It goes beyond working hard. Lives have been sacrificed, my own family’s included (Uncle Fred in WWII, Cousin Francis in Viet Nam) while lives were changed forever from veterans that returned from our wars. I hope they did not die in vain. I hope the things that My Uncle John Finn and my Dad saw and experienced in Viet Nam and were burned in their memory have some meaning…….they do. It’s that little thing I mentioned above in the United States Constitution. It is the basis for our country and always needs to be defended.

“The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first”

Thomas Jefferson 

Read that a few times. Think about that long and hard. A simple statement that carries a big stick. Here are a few more of my favorites from our founding father TJ that are relevant and at the very heart of the battle that is the DRBC vs the People of the Wayne County (and Beyond).

“The small landowners are the most precious part of a state”

“It is error alone which needs support of government. Truth stands by itself”

“The greatest danger to American Freedom is a government that ignores the constitution”

“Whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers…a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy”

Make no mistake. There is a takings claim coming; however many years it takes. It will involve the DRBC and all the voting states. There are various layers of shale under our feet, not just the Marcellus. The number for taking our mineral rights could easily number in the billions of dollars. How are the states going to pay for this? Why would they bow to political pressure from Big Money environmental special interests knowing full well they are violating the very constitution our country is founded upon? The answer is……because they can. That’s it. That’s the answer. Unless and until we defend ourselves in court the constitution has been stepped on, disregarded, and thrown to the curb. That’s not a slippery slope, we have gone right over the edge.

The framers of the Constitution were cognizant of some very basic freedoms that the basis of their entire article was written upon. Pay particular attention to the III-V amendments. They all have to do with personal and property rights.

Amendment I – Freedom of speech, press, right to peaceably assemble

Amendment II – Right to keep and bear arms

Amendment III – No quarter of soldiers in a time of peace without consent of the owner

Amendment IV – Right of the people to secure personal effects, unreasonable searches, probable cause, warrants describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V – “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” 

Three of the top five Amendments relate directly and indirectly to private property and the unlawful seizure of them (including mineral rights).

In the last seven years I have heard it all and seen it all in the way of arguments from those who would take what is mine. The science is settled (lets see how they like that statement, but, in our case, its true). This article could turn into a book if I got into the specifics of every argument against fracking and the scientifically proven answer to all of them. That is for another post. We have been on our slippery slope for seven years and we are now in free fall over the edge. Don’t be fooled if you don’t live in the basin. The actions of the DRBC et al. could very well happen to you. In the mean time, I’ll keep doing what I can whatever it may be, to see that my Dad’s wishes are seen through. We’ve been fighting seven years, but the fight for Freedom never ends…..and neither will I.

The post DRBC Torment Won’t Stop Me from Defending the People of the Delaware appeared first on Natural Gas Now.

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