To: Steve Tambini, Executive Director, Delaware River Basin Commission, Tom Wolf, Governor of Pennsylvania, Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York, Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey, John Carney, Governor of Delaware, and Brigadier General ...
DRBC: Fix your unjust comment process on fracking rules
DRBC, the public deserves the chance to speak out on the fracking regulations you have proposed. The unjust process you have put in place makes it impossible for many people to attend a hearing and, because the rules for submitting written comments is even more restrictive, many won’t be able to comment at all. Extend the comment period to 180 days, add hearings in accessible locations in all four of the watershed states, remove the advance Hearing registration requirements and December 31 deadline, and remove the restrictions on submitting written comments.
Why is this important?
The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) is banning hydraulic fracturing throughout the basin. If that was the full story, I’d be off somewhere celebrating, not starting a petition. Since 2010, processing of fracking waste and extraction of water for fracking outside of the basin have been prohibited. As the Commission plans to take one important step forward by turning the fracking moratorium into a ban, it plans to take two giant steps backward by lifting the prohibitions and opting to regulate both activities.
The DRBC issued its draft regulations on November 30th. In the few years that I’ve been attending their meetings, I’ve seen a concerning erosion of the public’s ability to participate. The public participation process the DRBC has announced for commenting on the draft regulations is the most unjust one yet.
Earlier this week, I commented at a public meeting of the Delaware River Basin Commission. I told the Commissioners that the process for commenting on the fracking regulations is testing the limits of what kind of a process they can put together and still call it public.
There are only two hearing dates, both in difficult to access locations in Pennsylvania. There are no hearings planned in New York, New Jersey, or Delaware. One of the locations, Waymart in Wayne County, is on top of a mountain, so it would be difficult to impossible to reach in wintry weather. They have provided no snow dates. The other is at a hotel at the Philadelphia Airport, a location that is virtually inaccessible for people in the city who can’t access public transportation to get there. To make matters worse, they are not taking written comments unless they are submitted via their online portal. You can’t even hand-deliver comments at the hearings. If you want to submit written comment or go to the Hearing without registration, you have to go through another application process and be granted permission to do so. People have to jump over one hurdle after another just to speak their mind.
And then there’s this. You MUST register by December 31st to even attend one of the hearings.
I’ve started this petition to help pressure the Commissioners into extending the comment period from 90 days to 180 days, add hearings, and remove the nonsensical restrictions. We want an inclusive process so that all who want to speak on one of the most important issues the Commission will ever face get the chance.
Please sign our petition calling on the DRBC to create a just process that is inclusive of all of us.