RICHARD MCNUTT - HISTORY

Introduction:

Please read the following overview carefully,

There has been a previous generation of clear thinking human beings that has stood up and defended (with personal effort and personal risk) the EcoSystem of the Delaware Watershed.  

This effort has been reasonably successful.

The Delaware river at this time is CLEAN...

NYC and Philadelphia and many other municipalities are drinking unfiltered water from the Delaware Watershed and the water quality is acceptable.

Richard has provided a high level summary of the recent history and I thank him for his clarity.

This is immensely valuable and this is (one of) the primary reasons that this website was created.

It is important (for the General Moral) that people know and understand the History of the Environmental Protection of the Delaware River and the Delaware River Watershed...

It is clear that we absolutely need to minimize (or eliminate) the contamination of our water supply.

Yes, it has always been a recurring problem and Yes, is has historically been much easier to pollute an EcoSystem than it is to protect an Ecosystem...

After all, corporations normally pollute /contaminate a geographic area and then move on to the next target (or go extinct... for example... The DeRewal Corporation  in Frenchtown , NJ).

It is the indigenous people (In this example, The remaining American Taxpayers)  that are left to clean up (or live with) the mess....

There is no Reasonable Doubt that the proposed N.G. drilling in the Delaware Watershed is a bad idea...but it seems that that  the "Facts" may not matter.

I hope that our children do not need to re-visit this question when the local well waters are undrinkable and when sizable portions of the United States are paying private corporations for purified water before they can take a shower or to wash their vegetables.... 

In 2011, This is an avoidable problem, in fact, if it is allowed to happen, it is clearly a crime that is systematically being inflicted upon the American taxpayer. 

If no one in the Government stops this from happening, that does NOT make it less of crime.  It is clearly the responsibility of our elected officials to to protect the integrity of our water supply.   If the Water Supply is contaminated as a consequence of  inadequate "regulation" then the responsible parties should be held accountable.  Unfortunately, in this example, blame will not matter and remediation will be irrelevant....   

This is Just My Opinion on 3//5/2011 (but an opinion that History may Sadly prove is accurate.)

If you study History, you will find countless examples of Dirty deeds that were done that were "Legal" at the time

Slavery was Legal but it was Wrong. What was done to the Native Americans was also legal.

Polluting the Water Supply of the NE United States is also WRONG.  (even if it is marketed by the main-stream media as acceptable (or even "necessary")..

Richard has provided his prospective in the following statement.

Tidewaters Gateway Partnership Inc.

Richard H. McNutt, President

5556 Stump Rd. Pipersville , PA 18947-1090

 

I’ve been asked to explain why we set out to “Save the Delaware” 50 years ago. Chief Bob Redhawk of the Lenape Nation of Indians said it best when he said:

 

Lenape Sipu, River of the peoples, is not ours. It belongs to our children and the children of seven generations yet to be born. We are the caretakers.

 

If we fail to pass healthy water on to future generations – we fail in our responsibility to give children good life. We would welcome helpless future generations of unborn children into a world of poison and sickness as our gift of neglect to them.

 

The story of saving the Delaware has many complicated and differing points of view. Asking river warriors of the save the Delaware efforts from the last 50 years how the Delaware was reborn from a hopelessly polluted sewer ditch would be like asking a Vietnam War veteran what happened in the Vietnam War. You will get individually different answers. A political advisor of the Lower Delaware efforts, Mitch Bunkin, said it best:

 

“There is no reality”.

“All reality is perception”.

“All reality is simply perceived by each individual”.

 

Back in the 1950’s and early 60’s, dock workers along the Delaware River were falling dead from sewer discharge and other toxic gasses as they worked. The river stank so bad that airplanes increased their altitude flying over it to keep from stinking up their cockpits. Migrating fish like the shad were gone. Pollution blocks along the river rendered the river without oxygen and literally dead. All of our tidewater here was dead.

 

In 1955 there was a major flood, which opened a perceived marketing opportunity to construct a dam across the river marketing it for flood control. This had been an Army Corps dream since the 30’s. The modern purpose of the Tox Island dam was to feed emergency cooling water for 5 nuclear power plants planned for down stream and make it appear to be a flood control project. Nuclear power plants were very unpopular in those days, so the powers at that time tried to manipulate the perceived purpose of the dam to avoid controversy. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back for this Army Corps of Engineers project. Citizens up and down the river began the ongoing campaign to “Save the Delaware”. Thousands of people stepped into the public arena and demanded the Delaware to be cleaned up and the nuclear power plants to be dumped from the river. Congressman Peter Kostmayer, chairman of the Congressional Appropriations Committee confronted the Army Corps request for 800 million dollars to build the Tox Island dam to respond to only 540 million dollars in flood damages.  The appropriations committee refused to give 800 million in taxpayers’ money without defined returns on investment to the taxpayers. Tox Island Dam was dumped. Plans for nuclear power plants  on the Delaware were scrapped. Again, you will hear many differing interpretations of this time according to the different special interest groups attempting to skew the truth in their interest. Save the Delaware coalitions were formed and the decades that have followed have taken a sewer ditch and turned it into the longest free flowing river east of the Mississippi , longest anti degradation water quality regulated river in the world and one of the cleanest rivers in the Eastern USA .

 

The Tox Island dam was stopped and scrapped from the active project list in 1978 and the Delaware Water Gap National Park was created to give the land to the American people because it was too late to give it back to the people who were forced off their land to build the proposed dam. The Delaware Water Gap National Park became the 5th most visited National Park in the country. 22 million people live within a day’s drive of this National treasure. 17 million people receive Delaware River water for their drinking water. Peoples above the park from Hancock NY to Port Jervis joined the efforts and became federally designated Wild and Scenic. Act of Congress, signed by the president of the USA . 1978 was a good year for the Delaware .

 

The dam was not finally de-authorized until 1992. Not taken off the books yet. The promoters thought the resistance would go away. We did not. Save the Delaware coalitions continue to build into partnerships as I speak. Lenape, Cherokee and other Native American Nations along with organizations with minds and spirits beyond themselves are looking out for future generations of helpless children and being responsible for them; These partnerships are active right now forcing adjustments to balance commerce with recreation and healthy water supply for Mother Earth. People who recognize themselves as keepers of a world treasure instead of owners who would profit from the river’s abuse are a powerful force in creating policy. These people recognize that water is life blood of all things. Poison the water and poison all things.

 

Below the water gap in 1979 another crisis was confronted. It became known as the “Pumpfight” in Point Pleasant PA. Another veiled nuclear power plant project and a huge commercial development program popped up to look like flood control and an emergency water supply system to offset Montgomery County’s industrial pollution of their Keystone and other water supply sources. The truth of the visioned project was a 250 million gallon per day system to develop Downingtown into Valley Forge II and pump water over the entire Bucks County area to supply development along with an emergency water supply system for the Limerick nuclear power plant being planned in Montgomery County . The Pumpfight raged for over a decade to Save the Delaware. The Pumpfight was successful in reducing the plumbing from 250 million gallons per day to 97 million gallons per day and thousands of people took over the project, dumped the Bucks County Agency put in place to build and operate the system and limited the use of the water to supplying the nuclear power plant emergency cooling water and offsetting the recognized pollution in Montgomery County’s water systems.

 

Abuse of the river was thwarted again. Peter Kostmayer wrote the Wild and Scenic Designation law during the fight which eventually came into being in Y2K, classifying that portion of the river from the Delaware Water Gap to Trenton an outstandingly remarkable national resource and President Clinton signed it into law forever. The entire fresh water section of the Delaware River is now Wild and Scenic with Special Protection Waters assuring anti-degradation of water quality forever and enforced by DRBC. DRBC is the four state governors and Army Corps of Engineers. This turnabout wasn’t about anti anything.  This was about recognizing changing values in a dynamic world system. It must be noted that the dominant economic driver in the Delaware basin is recreation now. Originally it was agricultural, then industrial and now recreational. If we allow industrial pollution to damage recreational uses, we destroy our dominant economic driver. I spent my entire professional career in industrial engineering, so understand that I am intimately sensitive to where industrial uses should be permitted and what regulatory issues are relevant. Pollution of recreational waterways and major drinking water supplies is unconscionable and in fact is criminal and destructive to future generations of children.

 

Now it is our turn to pick up the save the Delaware flag in the Tidewaters. Trenton to the ocean. We are all part of America ’s river. The water flows down stream to our place here.Although raw sewage hasn't been dumped into the river since 1985 legally and the water quality has improved, it's not as good as it could be yet. Our water goes back and forth with the tides, so we’re a little different. We are also not Wild and Scenic in our urban reaches, so our efforts will be creative and at the same time to the same goal. Save the Delaware . Our water is life blood of all things. In fact, our tidewaters are where primary forms of life begin on earth in this bioregion. Without our part of this river, the beings up stream have nothing to eat and will starve to death. Our work is cut out for us and it is necessary for future generations of unborn children. Getting people to the water is critical. Getting people on the water is what connects them to their spirit and the essence of the flow of nature. That is where the transformation begins. The unwavering commitment to celebrate the health of our water is what creates the unwavering public force to convince a congress and a president that we are all part of the same outstandingly remarkable American resource. We are where it all started and continues to restart as we continue down stream to the ocean. My perceived reality is simply to keep the vigil. It is right and it is good for everyone who gets involved. It changes lives in a good way.

 

The opportunity to get involved now is awesome. The Delaware is “River of the Year” in Pennsylvania for 2011. Jessica Anderson and PEC can give you a shopping list of wonderful opportunities this summer. This is also the 17th year of the Delaware River Sojourn. This is a boating trip covering the river from Callicoon NY to Burlington/Bristol this year from 18 June to 25 June. Check it out. I have flyers. I’ll be there.

 

Thank you for listening. Thank you for stepping up. You are the heroes. Outstandingly remarkable American treasures, you are. I wish you extremes to the good that you deserve in your lives. I am honored and grateful to be among you.

 

Wanishi

Questions?

Here’s some history to keep in mind:

 

1955 - Flood inspired a marketing opportunity to build a dam across the river, which was a deliberate deception. True purpose was to supply water to 5 proposed nuclear power plants planned on the river

 

1961 – DRBC was formed. Tox Island dam was supported by the Army Corps of Engineers.

 

1965 - I joined the campaign to dump the Tox Island Dam and clean up the River along with others realizing the time had arrived for this work.

 

1968 – Wild and Scenic Act was passed by Lynden Johnson Congress.

 

1970 – Clean Streams/Clean Water Act was passed by Richard Nixon and Congress.

1973 – American Rivers was founded to initiate public participation Federal Protections for Rivers.

1978 – Wild and Scenic Designation accomplished for Upper and Middle Delaware . Dump the Pump fight begins in Lower Delaware .

1981 – Campaign for Lower Delaware Wild and Scenic Recreational Designation begins. Congressman Peter Kostmayer writes draft bill.

1988 – Peco utility Stock Holding Bucks County President Judge Zeek Garb orders Pump to be built in spite of successful referendum voting against it.  Coalitions focus on non – government actions.

1992 – Tox Island Dam construction rejected by Congressional Appropriations Committee chaired by Peter Kostmayer. Army Corps Permit dumped.

 

1998 – Pumpfight officially ended with negotiated settlement.

2000 – Lower Delaware Wild and Scenic Recreational Designation passed congress, signed by President Clinton.

2002 – Tox Island Dam dumped for good and taken off the books. Rising Nation Journey of Indians kicks off 4th Crow Prophecy for Lenape Nations of Indians on the Delaware River .

2006 – Tidewaters of the Delaware federal designation campaign takes root. Effort to produce Recreational Water Trail from Trenton to the ocean solidifies and begins development of data bases.

 

2010 – Proposal is entertained by feds for a unified federal designation forthe entire Delaware River . Patience and persistence required.

 

2011 – Your turn……….this project is dynamic and forever over multi generations.

• Richard H. McNutt, President

• Tidewaters Gateway Partnership Inc.

• 5556 Stump Rd

• Pipersville, PA

• 18947-1090

• 

• 

• Dear Carol,

I hope you are holding up in good mind to the pressures.

• The DRBC is charged with a legal mandate to “Do No Harm” to the Special Protection Waters of the Delaware River. DRBC MUST maintain the exceptional water quality that now exists in the River and improve it where it needs help. These draft rules fall far short of meeting that high bar even though they have some proposals that are stricter than the states’, a good start in some areas—but just a start. The draft rules simply do not overcome the handicap caused by rushing the rules forward without needed scientific studies. The rules do not protect from the risk of catastrophic harm from individual wells nor do they address the cumulative impacts of water withdrawal and well development; there is no method proposed to control the accumulated environmental toll that natural gas drilling, land transformation, and water depletion and pollution will take on habitats, streams, communities and the River.

• There are no spacing requirements for the tens of thousands of wells expected that would limit how many wells can be drilled and how close they can be to each other, facilitating an industrial landscape. Proposed Natural Gas Development Plan thresholds are too high—much gas development will not be captured and it is not clear how the plans will address individual and cumulative impacts. How will the loss of freshwater flows from the headwaters and the destruction of the now 89% forested Upper Delaware affect water quality, clean drinking water, habitats and ecology downstream?

• The draft rules do not place any restrictions on the chemicals that drillers can use to drill and hydraulically fracture (“frack”) gas wells. Considering the hundreds of dangerous chemicals that are used, many of them carcinogenic and hazardous, and the fact that diesel fuel, a toxic substance, is being used in some areas to stimulate gas extraction, the DRBC's "hands off" approach to this central aspect which they could rightfully regulate is irresponsible. The DRBC proposes to ask for full disclosure of all fracking formulas, a good step, but the same cloak of secrecy for frackers will remain in place since the DRBC will honor companies’ request for trade secrecy protection to shield frackers from public exposure. Why isn't the DRBC prohibiting the use of contaminants in gas extraction processes or at least waiting for the EPA to finish its study of hydraulic fracturing practices to protect drinking water? If the DRBC isn’t going to

publicly disclose the formulas themselves then why don’t they prohibit the use of secret fracking chemicals?

• The draft rules do not prescribe wastewater standards for all of the specific constituents of gas drilling wastewater; under the draft rules the removal of all toxic substances won’t happen. Many highly dangerous chemical hazards are in gas drilling wastewater and because of the federal exemption from disclosure, they are not all known. But hundreds are listed in NY’s Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement and at the Endocrine Disruption Exchange. DRBC does propose a treatability study for waste fluids before a plant can accept it and acute toxicity testing for treatment systems, which is not required by the States, and they list some of the hazardous chemicals regulated by safe drinking water rules that they want wastewater tested for but they allow for waivers, weakening the rule, employ a minimal Total Dissolved Solids standard, and have left off key parameters such as radon, hydrogen sulfide and chemicals that are

synergistically formed in the wastewater such as 4 Nitroquinoline 1-oxide (4NQO), one of the most powerful carcinogens known. How can the DRBC move ahead without comprehensive control of this toxic wastewater?

• The draft rules rely on weak State regulations in many areas:

1. Due to a federal exemption under the Clean Water Act, stormwater management that’s required for all other earth disturbance greater than an acre is not required for gas development and PA goes even further and exempts gas and oil activities from many key areas of stormwater, erosion and nonpoint source pollution control requirements. DRBC acquiesces entirely to the lack of requirements by deferring to state standards; this will ruin streams, smother habitats, kill fish and degrade water quality and drinking water. This gross oversight alone could violate the “no measureable change in water quality” standard that the DRBC is required to maintain in Special Protection Waters.

1. Drilling, cementing and casing construction and safety is totally sidestepped by the DRBC by deferring to state standards, despite Pennsylvania’s substandard Chapter 78 requirements. The lack of adequate construction safety standards, in some cases even below industry standard, is causing pollution incidents, well blowouts, stray gas migration and more throughout Pennsylvania. How can the DRBC bury its head in the sand when it comes to safety? Isn’t that what led to the BP Oil well disaster in the Gulf last year?

1. Air pollution from gas wells and wastewater impoundments is not addressed at all by the DRBC, despite PA’s exemption of gas wells from air standards. NY’s Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement identifies large amounts of hazardous air pollution (methanol) and other pollutants that will violate NY’s air emission standards. In Texas http://www.edf.org/documents/9235_Barnett_Shale_Report.pdf and other areas, gas extraction and production is degrading air and human health. Yet DRBC leaves this matter to the States, despite the fact that air pollution deposits on land and water, causing both air and water pollution far from the source.

1. The States have totally inadequate setbacks between gas well activities and water bodies, water wells, homes and other vulnerable features. Setbacks from homes, public buildings, public roads, public water supply wells and domestic water supply wells are all left out of DRBC oversight and relegated to inadequate state setbacks that have resulted in pollution incidents from gas drilling throughout Pennsylvania (most notably, US Environmental Protection Agency is investigating water well pollution in Dimock and Bradford County, PA). DRBC proposes a 500 foot setback of gas well pads from water bodies, wetlands, surface water supply intakes and water supply reservoirs and prohibits well pads in the DRBC’s defined “floodway” and advises none in the “flood hazard area” (a variance may be granted), which is stricter than PA or NY requirements. Nonetheless, more protective requirements are needed. All setbacks should be measured from the end of the

horizontal well bore, as well as from the vertical well bore, since hydraulic fracturing will introduce contaminants and cause fracturing throughout the horizontal bore zone. Setbacks should be based on a minimum 300 foot buffer beyond the floodplain/flood hazard area as defined by riparian soils (when that distance is greater than 500 feet) to assure adequate protection for streams and to prevent flood damages. Water supply intakes and reservoirs need protection based on drainage patterns and the condition of the setback area (such as slope and vegetation) in order to provide needed buffering so distances need to be calculated on a site by site basis, not a cookie cutter 500 foot radius.

1. DRBC expressly allows centralized wastewater storage facilities and defers to State standards for them. In NY’s Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, impoundments as large as 40 acres are anticipated and operators are building huge impoundments in Pennsylvania now. One of the major sources of air pollution is from these wastewater impoundments, from which toxic contaminants volatilize to the air, then are breathed in or deposited on soil and water, causing highly mobile pollution. Further, DRBC proposes no setback requirements for impoundments, deferring to the states. For on-site pits up to 250,000 gallons, PA’s setbacks are the same as for gas wells, which is only 100 feet from a water body, as close as 20 inches above the seasonal high water table and no mention of a setback from a water supply well. How can the DRBC allow centralized pits to hold gas drilling wastewater when they don’t allow open pits for wastewater on

well sites?

• The rules would allow for fast track approvals (Approval by Rule) with streamlined Executive Director review and without public input for much gas drilling and some water withdrawals. This loophole will lead to the "death by a thousand cuts". Speeding up gas development has led to communities and the environment suffering huge numbers of violations on well sites. 2,755 natural gas wells were drilled in PA in 2010; in the same timeframe, 2,486 violations were noted by PADEP. How can DRBC allow this breakneck speed when charged to maintain the River’s exceptional quality?

• In the absence of a cumulative impact study, all stream data for all parameters including water chemistry (real time and grab samples), benthics, fish, mussels, must be commenced at least one full year before drilling can begin and the cost of this work must be borne by the drillers. Stream sampling must be established around the entire drilling zone beyond the vertical well pad and must also include reference site monitoring.

• The public opportunity in the rulemaking is inadequate and more hearings and a longer comment period is needed to provide adequate time to review & digest the proposed rules; the public needs to be involved. Expanding the opportunity for the pubic to participate is absolutely essential in order to make this a meaningful rulemaking process. The public is actively engaged and has shown deep interest on this issue – more than 8000 letters in 8 months last year; thousands more letters are being submitted now calling for extension of the comment period and more hearings; six PA Delaware Valley legislators just sent letters to you, New York City and Philadelphia City Councils passed resolutions, Congressmen Maurice Hinchey (NY) and Rush Holt (NJ), and Mayor Michael Bloomberg (NYC) have sent letters asking for you to wait for the science, and hundreds of people are speaking up at meetings and hearings. DRBC needs to extend the public comment period by at

least another 120 days and hold Hearings in New York City, Philadelphia, and more Hearings close to where people live.

Thank you for everything you are doing.

Richard McNutt, President

Tidewaters Gateway Partnership Inc.

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