Some people responded to my recent blog on the threat to the Delaware River basin and New York’s water, asking: What can I do? To protect the water of the DRBC from Gas Drilling, you can use this template and addresses: You can email to DeLuca via his two aides, and also send emails to all the other people listed at the top of the letter.

Copy and paste individually into the webmail of Obama (at www.whitehouse.gov ),
Salazar at Interior feedback@ios.doi.gov and Hinchey (http://www.house.gov/hinchey/zipauth.shtml). Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Subject heading: Maintain fracking moratorium in Delaware River Basin until EPA study is done

Dear President Obama, Interior Secretary Salazar and Army Corps of Engineers Brigadier General Peter A. deLuca (DRBC), Executive Director Carol Collier (DRBC) (carol.collier@drbc.state.nj.us)Secretary Paula Schmidt (DRBC) (Paula.Schmitt@drbc.state.nj.us )CC: Joyce Irvin (joyce.c.irvin@usace.army.mil)CC: Lt. Col. Thomas J. Tickner (thomas.j.tickner@usace.army.mil )CC: Rep. Maurice Hinchey

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I hope this letter finds you all well and enjoying your clean, fresh drinking water. Within the Delaware River Basin, the DRBC can best manage water resources for 16 million people (5% of all Americans) by following your mandate to protect the Delaware River watershed rather than succumb to political pressure.

Before the completion of scientific studies, it’s very risky for the DRBC to allow shale gas extraction to proceed. Funding earmarked by Rep. Maurice Hinchey (NY) for a USGS study of hydrofracking is held up in Congress. It may, or may not be approved. I urge you to wait for the comprehensive EPA study to be completed in 2012. Given that water supply contamination, from the drilling and fracking of 10,000 (or more) wells, could endure for decades and be very costly to remediate, two years is a short timeframe for scientific and safety guidance.

Please extend the DRBC moratorium (and include the grandfathered wells) until the EPA study is ready. We need that study to guide the formulation of DRBC regulations. Regulations to “create a level playing field” are not crafted with safety in mind, or based on scientific study of environmental risks to the watershed. Bonding levels, etc, are administrative rules, not safety regulations, which should be determined, based on a thorough environmental study, rather than industry pressure. If DRBC allows the Delaware River Basin to be studded with 10,000 wells (or more) in the two year interim until the EPA study is done, you will be subjecting the entire watershed to a massive and risky experiment.

I realize there are political considerations since the four governors on the DRBC plus the President are looking forward to the jobs and lease-cash for their constituents associated with shale gas extraction. I urge all of you to remember, however, that the DRBC’s mandate is to protect the river basin waters over and above political considerations, and that these jobs and cash come with the high price tag of potential environmental catastrophe. There is no DRBC mission statement to promote shale gas development, or any industrial development, no matter how much it might benefit Commissioners politically. Do not allow the DRBC to follow the MMS in creating inadequate regulations or enforcement.