Open Letters

This section of this Webpage is dedicated to posting letters that are received from Private Citizens...  Please send email to riverwatcher@runningwater.us if you have an opinion that you would like to share with others.



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Open Letter to Our Elected Representatives:  This letter was originally sent to Senator McIlhinney on September 30th, 2010. 
The response from the Senator to this particular letter has been appended at the end of the original letter. 

September 30,2010

Senator McIlhinney,

 

I am most concerned about the Water Resources of Pennsylvania being contaminated by Reckless Behavior and Avoidable Negligence.

The North Eastern United States has an abundance of Clean Water, Natural Gas, Coal , Pristine Woodlands, Reasonably Clean Air and People.

 

These are the important things that need to be protected by the government and they each need to be protected from each other.

The Gas and the Coal should not be allowed to pollute the Farm Land, the Water or the Air.

The people should not be allowed to destroy the woods or create Superfund Industrial waste sites for others to either live next to, or clean up at great expense.

 

If, in 25 years, the gas can be extracted safely and burned cleanly, then the children of Pennsylvania will have something valuable and our generation can have something to be proud of.

If the Water is clean and available, and the animals and the fish still exist, and if there are still places for people to walk and feel clean and Peaceful, that will be Truly Valuable.

 

Paper money profits, Windfall State taxes and short term job creation is not the long term answer or even the short term answer.

  

Pennsylvania and especially the Delaware River Watershed needs to be protected.

If Natural Gas Drilling is unstoppable, then the Fracking fluid should not be allowed...  This is one option.

  

There should be a total Ban on drilling in the Delaware River Watershed.

The Water Supply for 17 Million people and the Ecosystem that supports it can not be put at risk.  Period.

  

If drilling must occur, let it happen outside the Delaware River Watershed and minimize the risk (no fracking fluid), Optimize the benefit (Severance tax) and Regulate and Clean the toxic waste that the drilling will produce.

 

It the roads need to be repaired or rebuilt because of the additional weight and traffic, the cost should be indirectly passed onto to the Shareholders of the Gas Corporations.

They can afford to make less profit and the truth is that they should have been required to build these external costs into their business models from the beginning.  That is the necessary expense portion of capitalism.

  

The same logic applies to the extra staffing and equipment required for Emergency Response Teams and the local Fire and Police departments to remain effective.  The Gas companies should pay for them.

If they don't want to pay for all of the costs associated with the drilling and removal of the gas,  the Natural Gas itself,and the cleanup,  then they don't have to drill here.

If they don't drill then the existing roads, and EMTs and the Volunteer Fire and Police departments  are staffed fine as they are, and there will be no cleanup required.

 

The gas can wait, and when a Responsible Corporation proposes a Reasonable, Fair and Safe plan to remove the gas, and can prove it, then a reasonable amount of permits could be issued.

 

A grid pattern that destroys the wildness should not be allowed. There must be some sort of compromise that allows minimal damage.

Maybe that answer is a minimal amount of wells strategically placed so that the least amount of damage is done.

  

From What I am hearing,  People are not necessarily against accessing the Natural Gas...They are Strongly against the contamination of the the Water and the destruction of their Quality of life.

They are Strongly against passing on a Massive Toxic Waste Site to the future Generations.

 

There are a lot of major problems that will need to be dealt with in the next 50 years.  We do not need to add another one.

 

I appreciate your support on these issues and I personally thankyou for the time it took you to read this message and the work that you are doing.


Best Regards




Here is the reply from Senator McIlhinney:


"Thank you for your correspondence concerning the threat of our water resources being at risk of contamination by gas companies. I appreciate hearing from you regarding this very important issue.
 
As you know, I have been very involved with members of the General Assembly the past several years with the issue of gas drilling and how we move forward with continuing to protect the environment from contaminants. My goal is to do what is right for Pennsylvanians in protecting our natural water ways, farm land and sustaining the air quality.
 
With that said, I understand and agree that we need to strive towards banning drilling in the Delaware River Watershed and continue to advocate for the betterment of this Commonwealth so that the quality of life is continued in years to come.
 
Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me about your thoughts on this very critical issue.  Please do not hesitate to contact me or my office if we can be of assistance with any state related matter."
 
Sincerely,
Senator Chuck McIlhinney
10th Senatorial District
Bucks and Montgomery Counties

Posted January 12, 2011


From: Larry Menkes <soundsynergy@comcast.net>
Date: January 6, 2011 3:41:03 PM EST
Subject: Letter to the editor

State oversight assure's safe water? 


To the editor:

Some of DEP Secretary Hanger's new clothes are missing.

Secretary of Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Services, John Hanger's recent letter attacking the press, and AP reporter David Caruso, for exposing flaws in Pennsylvania's regulation of the natural gas industry and hydrofracking is sad and disappointing to those of us who are well versed in this issue.

As a political appointee Mr. Hanger is between the rock of public concern and big money interests, like the gas and coal industries. Those who fondly remember John from his halcyon days at PennFuture generally suspect that he's gone over to the "dark side". Fortunately, the back of his façade looks unclothed.

Hanger admits that because of budget cuts the DEP has inadequate resources to monitor the gas industry. He admits he doesn't have all of the data that DEP needs to collect, and complained that the industry withheld complete data. He waves the red herring of total dissolved solids (mostly sand), to show DEP's been on the stick since mid-'09.

Where was the DEP when fracking started in 2008? Hacker says that he's finally doubled the inadequate oversight staff, from levels reduced by severe budget cuts. On January 4th, Reuters said he only increased the number of oil and gas inspectors from 75 to 120, a 66% increase. Is the front of Hacker's half-pants on fire? Sadly, a tenfold increase may not be sufficient.

Secretary Hacker claims that we "now have arguably the nation's most aggressive oversight program. I know many informed citizens who disagree and would easily win that argument. Does that help the people already hurt? How many people around Dimock and elsewhere suffered or died under his watch?

 What he doesn't say is that he really doesn't know all that's going on. Yet he claims, "The new rules, so far, appear to be working,". He cautions that rivers need to be watched closely for any sign that they have degraded beyond what the new state standards allow, a different standard from what public safety requires. By the time frack water gets into the rivers it's too late. Once in a watershed, that toxic brew can't be removed and poisons everything for decades. Prevention is the only answer when it comes to safe drinking water.

"This requires vigilance, daily vigilance." says Hanger. Who'll pay for that? Citizens and the press will do well keep a close eye on the rivers, industry, and on our Secretary of the DEP.


Larry Menkes
Warminster Township
267.992.8020



Posted January 2, 2011

Subject: Duly informing our PA General Assembly about ALL the facts on natural gas drilling
 
Dear Representative Saylor:
 
As majority whip, you now occupy a position vital to the welfare of all PA citizens. And when it comes to natural gas drilling in our state, your actions will impact not only our state, but our nation and potentially the whole world. I certainly have a sense of the awesome--and onerous--responsible with which you're entrusted. I can only hope--for the sake of everyone's future--you share that sense.
 
Natural gas drilling is clearly an industry where contracts affect not just parties to the contract, but their neighbors (deeply) and potentially many other people (in the long run). Where this industry is concerned, accurate, up-to-date knowledge of the science facts is vitally important. I hope you and the legislators you have the power to influence and inform are staying abreast of the latest science regarding gas drilling.
 
On that topic, are you aware of the study, released in November, by Cornell PhDs Robert Howarth, Anthony Ingraffea, et. al. indicating that once extraction is factored in, natural gas obtained by unconventional drilling is potentially dirtier in its greenhouse gas effects than mountaintop coal? In other words, this study, the most recent and comprehensive to date, will, if it stands up to peer review (expected in a few months), refute the gas industry claim that natural gas is a viable "bridge" or "transition" fossil fuel that helps ease the switch to renewable energies. In fact, if the study is correct, heavy reliance on natural gas will only worsen the world's worst environmental problem--with potentially catastrophic effects for humanity.
 
I don't know if you are personally a climate change skeptic, but I would point out that there is almost universal agreement among credentialed climate scientists (a FACT underreported in the media) that climate change is occurring and is caused by humans; a scientific minority--and a small one--only debates how serious the consequences will be. I hope you are not willing to gamble with humanity's future that that small minority is correct.
 
If you will contact me, I'll be glad to send you documentation backing up every scientific claim I've made in this letter. Meanwhile, I intend to publish this letter in every media outlet I can find, to make it clear that I have made an urgent appeal to you to understand the best available science facts. I can only hope you fully grasp the high responsibilities you have undertaken and will share these facts with your fellow legislators.
 
Sincerely,
Patrick Walker




Posted December 15th,2010

Don’t Tread On Me

The Pennsylvania midterm election was bought and paid for by the oil and natural gas industry. Only the voices of those who would gain the most at the expense of destroying Pennsylvania’s environment and the misinformed were heard. 

The voice of the people was not heard. 


Our Pennsylvania Constitution, Article 1, natural resources and the public estate, section 27, clearly states the people have a right to clean air, pure water and the preservation of the natural scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. 


Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generation yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.


 Let me make it perfectly clear, Article 3, section 13 of the Pennsylvania Constitution vote denied members with personal interest reads:

 A member who has a personal or private interest in any measure or bill proposed or pending before the general assembly shall disclose the fact to the House of which he or she is a member and shall not vote there on. 


The new Governor elect for the state of Pennsylvania should tread lightly when it comes to dealing with issues regarding gas or oil drilling and the environment. 

The new Governor was supposedly elected by the people, making bedfellows with the gas and oil industry is not the path I personally would take. 

It would be a shame to think that a candidate for Governor would need over a million dollars of gas and oil industry campaign contributions to become the next elected Governor of Pennsylvania.

Again, tread lightly when speaking about lifting gas drilling moratoriums on public state land. This is a dangerous environmental disregard to the duties of being a trustee responsible for protecting the Commonwealth Constitution.Remember the snake on the flag is a rattler.


Save our number one resource, our fresh water. Say no and ban slick water horizontal gas and oil hydro fracking drilling. Without fresh water there is not life or country.


Thank You,

Michael McMackin



Editors Note:  

http://www.duq.edu/law/pa-constitution/constitutions/current.cfm          Here is a link to an online copy of the Constitution of of the State of Pennsylvania (just so we have the facts absolutely correct and verifiable from an external source.).





From: John Kesich <kesich@npacc.net>
Subject: [CCNGD] letter to the editor: Lead, don't cheerlead
To: "Citizens Concerned about Natural Gas Drilling" <
citizensconcernedaboutnatgasdrilling@googlegroups.com>
Date: Saturday, December 18, 2010, 2:06 PM

The enclosed contains information and ideas which may be of interest to people who don't read the Wellsboro Gazette. The editor omitted two phrases - marked with >>><<< below - I believe this was purely for space considerations.

http://www.tiogapublishing.com/articles/2010/12/15/opinion/letters/doc4d091710b54ae677853562.txt
If you follow this link, ignore the boilerplate at the bottom which might lead you to believe that only part of the printed letter appears.

-as submitted Lead, don't cheerlead

To the editor, 
Governor Ridge said quite a few fine sounding things at the GROW breakfast; lofty ideas like respectful, responsible, spirited public dialogue and fact-based debate. The Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) should be pleased. Isn't that what they're paying Ridge Global and Ridge Policy Group $900,000 for?

However, actions speak louder than words. For example, his decision not to step outside the Penn Wells to accept some written questions from Citizens Concerned about Natural Gas Drilling (CCaNGD). Or MSC doing away with both their web form and fax. Or the industry's failure to correct the dismal compliance record of its trucks and drivers. To list but a few.

The post office delivered copies of the questions to Ridge's Harrisburg office on December 8th, but I doubt he will answer or acknowledge them. He is clearly only interested in pleasing his employer, the gas industry. What CCaNGD hopes to achieve is to document Ridge's and the industry's hypocrisy in claiming that they care about either the environment or the communities in which they operate. However, I am rather disappointed that GROW chose to waste its time listening to a paid cheerleader instead of informing itself about the many problems this gas bubble entails and tackling them. Not sure why I would expect any better >>>given the lack of responsible action by our so called community leaders<<<.

When I raised the issue of the extremely high asthma rates in the Barnett Shale region of Texas, where 25% of children in certain age groups are afflicted - 1 out of every 4 kids - as opposed to 7% for the rest of the state, Mr Coolidge responded with, "Can you prove that gas extraction is responsible?" Perhaps I'm very naive, but I really do expect more >>>than retreads of lame tobacco industry PR<<< from our elected officials. But the most telling incident to date occurred in September of 2009. I had heard that a prominent Tioga businessman was flipping properties while leasing the minerals and retaining the leases, so I made an appointment to speak with him. After about a half hour's discussion,during which I learned a few things, he looked me in the eye and said,"John, I'm a hypocrite. I agree with every thing you've said, but we're not going to stop this gas boom. These deals will provide the finances in case my kids and I have to get out of Dodge."

If there has been a single responsible action taken by any respected member of this community to address or mitigate the real and serious negative impacts of this gas bubble, I'd sure like to hear about it.

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Citizens Concerned about Natural Gas Drilling" group.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to citizensconcernedaboutnatgasdrilling+
unsubscribe@googlegroups.com 




December XX, 2010 
The Honorable Ken Salazar 

Secretary 
 U.S. Department of the Interior 
1849 C Street, NW 
 Washington, DC 20240-0001 

Dear Secretary Salazar: 

We are writing to express our strong support of your recent announcement of plans to develop a new policy for the public disclosure of chemical compounds used in hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, on public lands. This is a critical step forward in encouraging the oil and gas industry to be more transparent and responsibly address the potential implications of hydraulic fracturing on water supplies and public health. 

As oil and natural gas development expands across many regions of our country,  the use of hydraulic fracturing is growing as well, bringing drilling operations closer and closer to communities and sources of drinking water. This process of developing natural gas by injecting a mixture of chemicals, water, and sand  into underground rock formations, has resulted in complaints from neighboring communities that their water supplies have become contaminated. As our nation faces the challenges of reducing the impacts of fossil fuels while transitioning to a cleaner energy future, the Interior Department must be vigilant in ensuring that oil and gas development is done in accordance with safe and environmentally sound standards. Should we fail to do this, we will pay a heavy price. 

The public has a right to know what toxins might be going into the ground near their communities, and what might be leaking into their drinking water – they have a right to be well-informed. Requiring transparency in the disclosure of potent toxins used in the fracking process is an important start to what we hope will be broader, comprehensive energy development policies, which will embrace best practices for both traditional and renewable energy development. 

We also applaud your assurances that you intend to work with the oil and gas industry, environmentalists and state energy regulators to guide your Department in the development of this new policy. Giving  all stakeholders a seat at the table will ensure transparency in the regulation process as well, leading to stronger and more viable disclosure policies. 

Thank you again for your efforts to protect the public lands and public health through this undertaking. 

 Sincerely, 

Jessica Ennis
Legislative Associate 

Earthjustice 
1625 Massachusetts Ave., NW  Suite 702 
Washington,
DC 20036 

T: 202-667-4500 ext. 202 
C: 202-295-7619 





Citizens, beware of gas drilling

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The Intelligencer

You've probably noticed lately that the gas industry has been bombarding the local television and radio air waves with how great leasing your mineral rights to them for gas drilling is.

We hear tear-jerking stories like, "I'm lucky to be able to quit my job and stay home with my elderly mom in a wheelchair." Or, "I was able to save the farm with my gas company check and now I farm for fun." Or, "Now I can return from the out-of-state college I attended and get a gas company job in Pennsylvania so I can fish with my dad whom I might never see again."

And the latest: "My Pennsylvania construction company has been saved by the gas company jobs. Now I can hire new employees."

Once again, the gas industry, with its money and influence, is trying to promote a public image as a caring industry out there for you.

But the real tear-jerking stories are about the effects of gas drilling on fresh water, communities and the environment. Thanks to our local newspaper and the Internet, many of our concerned citizens throughout the state who have seen firsthand the damage and the impact gas drilling are having can tell their stories.

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Stories like the Dunard Creek fish kill in Washington County; the Penfield gas well blowout; the Indianola well disaster that killed two people and the aquifer contamination to drinking water supplies in Dimock. The EPA reports more than a thousand gas-drilling violations that were kept secret from the public.

The stories go on and on and will continue to go if we don't stop slick water horizontal gas and oil drilling. Community grass-roots democracy has the right to say "no" and stop the drilling. We must protect our No. 1 natural resource, our fresh water. We must protect our water supplies, our rivers and streams and our environment. We must stop the industrialization of Pennsylvania.

Michael McMackin

McMackin Plumbing & Heating

Hilltown Township

November 19, 2010 




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