by Iris Marie Bloom
It’s about time…. With a vote now expected to open the Delaware River Basin to fracking on November 21st, it’s high time the City of Philadelphia joins in with New York’s Attorney General, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Damascus Citizens for Sustainability and others suing the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) to forbid fracking at least until a Basin-specific study of cumulative impacts is completed, along with the EPA study on hydrofracking impacts on drinking water.
Philadelphia City Councilman Curtis Jones and Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown have introduced a resolution enabling the City of Philadelphia to join, as a Friend of the Court, the New York and other lawsuits, gathering strength and force. The industry is opposing this resolution more actively than usual, since it has teeth and they don’t like teeth. The fracking industry is pressing Council to oppose the Resolution. We need your support in favor!
Urgent: The Jones/Reynolds Brown resolution will be voted on on Thursday, October 12th. Please call Councilmembers on Wednesday, October 12th and come in person, 10 AM – 12 noon, to City Hall on Thursday. We don’t need arsenic, benzene, 2-butoxyethanol, chlorides, diesel, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, hydrochloric acid, radium 226 or any other fracking flowback contaminants in our water or air, and we must protect our neighbors’ health.
Raise your voice! Call on WEDNESDAY, October 12th, 9 – 5, beginning with your own City Councilperson if you live in Philadelphia — just go to www.seventy.org to find out who your Councilperson is. All Councilmembers’ phone numbers are listed below.
The resolution is sponsored by Councilman Curtis Jones, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, and Councilwoman Quinones Sanchez. Please thank the three of them; hold Councilman Kenney to his promise of a “yes” vote; and urge every other member of Council to protect the immediate and long-term integrity and health of Philadelphia’s drinking water and air, and the food, forests, farms, economy, and public health of our region by saying YES to the Jones/Reynolds Brown resolution.
A boom-bust economy is not a healthy economy; a healthy economy requires diverse, lasting, safe clean union jobs and an intact, thriving ecotourism base, which this region has and cannot afford to lose. Gas drilling workers are exposed to high levels of contaminants and sometimes ask why their clothes are eaten away and their skin is blistered. What’s the rush? Marcellus Shale has been there 380 million years. Let’s maintain the moratorium until we understand how shale gas drilling contributes to global scorching and until we find out what all these toxic chemicals, kept secret due to the industry’s special exemptions, do to the environment, fish, wildlife and domestic animals, and human health!
URGENT ACTION SUMMARY:
1. Call / Fax Philadelphia Council to pass Jones/Reynolds Brown Resolution; phone and fax numbers below. CALL ON WEDNESDAY OCT. 12th by 5 pm!
2. Come in person to Philadelphia City Hall by 10 AM (arrive 9:30 AM to get through security; bring photo ID) Thursday Oct. 13th.
WHERE: City Hall (Broad and Market Streets, Philadelphia, 19107: Council Chambers, Fourth Floor)
HOW LONG: 10 AM – 12 NOON (session may run later).
MESSAGE: YES, BRING SIGNS (without sticks). Protect Air, Water, Land and Human Health: Don’t Drill the Delaware!
This is a two-day alert. Call/Fax Wednesday; Come to City Hall Thursday. Thanks for all you do!
PHILADELPHIA CITY COUNCIL: PHONE AND FAX NUMBERS
City Council President Anna C. Verna
District Council Members
District 1 – Councilman Frank DiCicco
District 2 – Council President Anna Verna
District 4 – Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr.
District 6 – Councilwoman Joan L. Krajewski
District 7 – Councilwoman Maria D. Quiñones-Sánchez
District 8 – Councilwoman Donna Miller
District 9 – Councilwoman Marian B. Tasco »
District 10 – Councilman Brian J. O’Neill »
Councilman W. Wilson Goode, Jr.
Councilman William K. Greenlee
Councilman Bill Green
Councilman Jack Kelly
Councilman James Kenney
Councilman Frank Rizzo, Jr. »
Calling on the City and the City Council of Philadelphia to support, as Friend of the Court, consolidated lawsuits brought by the Attorney General of the State of New York and others against the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) and involved federal agencies to require that no drilling of Marcellus Shale take place until a full environmental analysis is completed.
WHEREAS, On March 25, 2010 the City Council of Philadelphia adopted Resolution 100209 which called on the Delaware River Basin Commission to halt hydraulic fracturing operations until a full environmental impact assessment has been conducted; and
WHEREAS, Resolution No. 100515 (adopted June 17, 2010) authorized Council’s Joint Committees on Transportation and Public Utilities and the Environment to hold a hearing on the economic and environmental impacts that hydraulic drilling of Marcellus Shale will have on Philadelphia and the surrounding region; and
WHEREAS, On September 28, 2010, the Joint Committees on Transportation and Public Utilities and the Environment held the hearing authorized by Resolution No. 100515, and
WHEREAS, On October 14, 2010, Councilmembers Curtis Jones, Jr. and Blondell Reynolds Brown wrote to the DRBC requesting that the Commission halt hydro-drilling (fracking) and not issue draft regulations governing any project related to gas drilling in the basin at any time prior to the completion of the EPA study or its own cumulative impact study stating that “science should guide environmental policy, placing the horse of science before the cart of policy,” and;
WHEREAS, On December 15, 2010, Council’s Joint Committees on Transportation and Public Utilities and the Environment adopted a final report, and issued said report to the full Council where on January 27, 2011 the Philadelphia City Council passed Resolution 100864-A adopting the aforementioned report;
WHEREAS, The first recommendation of City Council’s report on the impact of Marcellus Shale drilling on Philadelphia called for “no drilling, or projects related to gas drilling (including exploratory wells and water withdrawals), [should be] permitted in the Delaware River watershed until both the EPA hydraulic fracturing risks study and the cumulative impact studies specific to the Delaware River Basin are completed, assessed, and publicly debated” and;
WHEREAS, The Delaware River Basin Commission has announced plans to adopt drilling regulations at a special meeting on October 21, 2011 [POSTPONED to November 21, 2011], which could allow thousands of new gas wells in the Delaware River Basin, and
WHEREAS, On May 31, 2011 the New York State Attorney General filed litigation to stop the DRBC from issuing drilling regulations until a full environmental impact analysis is prepared. Several environmental organizations, The Delaware RiverKeeper Network, Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, the Hudson RiverKeeper and the National Parks Conservation Associations, have filed similar suits against the DBRC and other involved federal agencies. These lawsuits are pending in the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York; and
WHERAS, If the combined results of both a national EPA study and a Delaware River Basin-specific cumulative impacts study, show the potential for catastrophic risk, potential costs, and the inherent and cumulative risks to water, air, climate, farms, food, economy, fish and wildlife, human health, scenic value, and the tourism base, the City of Philadelphia will determine whether it is advisable to call for the entire Delaware River Basin to be kept off limits to unconventional gas drilling techniques; and
WHEREAS, Neither the EPA environmental impact study nor a DRBC cumulative impact study have been completed; and
WHEREAS, According to the Philadelphia Water Department, the Delaware River provides drinking water to 17 million people, or ten percent of the US population and according to the Environmental Protection Agency the Delaware River is one of the busiest fresh water ports in the world; and
WHEREAS, The Delaware River Basin Commission is charged with protecting the water quality in the Delaware River, and
WHEREAS, Philadelphia City Council members are required to uphold not only the City Charter but also the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Constitution which provides in part at Article I, Section 27 “The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to 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 generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people,” now therefore, be it
RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, that it hereby calls on the City and the City Council of Philadelphia to support, as Friend of the Court, consolidated lawsuits brought by the Attorney General of the State of New York and others against the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) and involved federal agencies to require that no drilling of Marcellus Shale take place until a full environmental analysis is completed.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be sent to the New York State Attorney General and all other parties to the consolidated lawsuits, as evidence of the grave concern of this legislative body.
Curtis Jones, Jr. Blondell Reynolds Brown
Councilman – 4th District Councilwoman-at-Large
October 6, 2011