EARTHblog » Nadia Steinzor
May 12, 2011
For decades, gas and oil companies have enjoyed seemingly unshakeable influence over policy and politicians. So it s nice to think that they might be paying attention to recent events, in which citizens have spoken so loudly and clearly that decisionmakers have been forced to listen.
Yesterday, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted unanimously to temporarily table a request by XTO Energy (ExxonMobil Corp.) to withdraw 250,000 gallons of water a day from a stream in Broome County, NY known for its unique trout habitat. It wasn t a full meeting agenda that did it but the receipt of over 7,000 emails and hundreds of letters in just over a week from residents and organizations across the region, thanks to an outreach push by Delaware Riverkeeper Network and its allies.
The key argument made was that issuing the permit would be premature and risky given the current moratorium on drilling permits in the Basin and work now underway to assess the impacts of gas development, including water withdrawal. Hopefully the commissioners will ultimately heed this logic; they'll certainly have another chance to hear it from more residents because they did agree to another citizen ask: to hold a public hearing on the application in the area that would be most impacted by the withdrawal.
April 26, 2011
In March, Governor Corbett established the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission to study the economic, social, and environmental issues related to natural gas development in the state.
Given what s at stake, this is a great idea. But there s a big hitch. Actually, two:
- The Commission is stacked with drilling companies and Corbett s campaign contributors; and
- Corbett has repeatedly stated that jobs are his top priority when it comes to drilling, over all other considerations.
As a Pennsylvania resident, you know that many communities are already feeling the impacts of under-regulated industrial drilling on their water, health, and quality of life. Yet the Governor s commission doesn t include public health experts, impacted residents, or citizen-based environmental organizations.
What to do?