EARTHblog » Nadia Steinzor
April 12, 2011
As the spring temperatures climbed, they streamed into the park and kept on coming. Hundreds of people from across New York State gathered in Albany for a Fracking Day of Action to collectively ask policymakers to do what it takes to safeguard vital water resources, public health, and the environment from dirty gas drilling.
Many of us also became Water Rangers as part of the launch of a public awareness and media campaign supported by the Clean Water Not Dirty Drilling network. The campaign invites New Yorkers to become part of the growing team of citizens taking action to protect our water and communities from dirty drilling.
Endorsed by over 40 national, state, and grassroots organizations, the Day of Action reflected a growing movement of citizens concerned about the damaging impacts of a rush to drill in other states. We collectively showed determination to ensure that communities and the environment are protected before industrial gas development occurs (and even consider that it not occur at all).
April 1, 2011
That Pennsylvania s DEP stands for Department of Everything Permitted as opposed to Environmental Protection has long been a joke among gas drilling activists. But now the agency itself has brought the image a step closer to being reality.
According to a new directive, DEP inspectors must now secure pre-approval from the Secretary before being able to issue gas company violations or taking related actions. Leaked from the agency to the media, the memos are short and informal. But they pack a punch straight into the gut of efforts to protect public health and the environment from the mad rush to drill in the Marcellus Shale.
On a practical level and in combination with continued budget cuts to the agency the action spells additional paperwork, delays, and backlog. More broadly, it takes influence over enforcement away from trained civil servants working in the field and puts even more in the hands of the Secretary, a political appointee chosen by avowedly pro-drilling (and gas industry bankrolled) Governor Tom Corbett.