It’s Time to Tell Regulators to Protect the Delaware River

Fracking in SautnerThe day of regulatory reckoning has come for America’s Most Endangered River of 2010, the Upper Delaware.

Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) to delay issuing regulations until a thorough study of the environmental impacts was completed? Well, the DRBC has decided to issue regulations against the advice of American Rivers, many regional conservation groups, landowners, and even the Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board.

Until April 15, the DRBC is accepting comments on their draft regulations. While the regulations in many ways are an improvement over similar regulations in the region, ultimately they fall short of adequately covering all of the potential impacts of natural gas development. One of the biggest concerns is the cumulative impact that 18,000 wells will have on the drinking water supply for 17 million Americans. The regulations do not look at the collective landscape-scale picture of what this degree of development could do to the region and its water supply.

American Rivers is going to ask DRBC to protect the Delaware River and delay issuing these regulations until a thorough scientific study has been completed. Will you join us?

To take action, follow these steps:

1. Edit the copy below to reflect why protecting the Delaware River is important to you. A personal message is very powerful.

As a supporter of American Rivers, I am urging the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) and Executive Director Collier to postpone the adoption of final natural gas drilling regulations and the issuance of any natural gas drilling permits until a full analysis is conducted that evaluates the cumulative impacts of natural gas drilling on the Delaware River system, its communities, and its fish and wildlife.

American Rivers listed the Upper Delaware last year as “America’s Most Endangered River” due to the threat of natural gas extraction. I am asking you to revise these regulations to ensure that contaminated water supplies, destroyed streams, and devastated landscapes are not tolerated in the rush to develop gas resources. We must protect our water from the potentially harmful impacts of natural gas development and create a healthy future for our rivers and future generations.

The DRBC is charged with a legal mandate to “Do No Harm” to the Special Protection Waters of the Delaware River. You are required to maintain the exceptional water quality that now exists in the River and improve it where it needs help; 17 million people who get their drinking water from the Delaware River are relying on you. These draft rules fall far short of meeting that high bar. 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.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this crucial rulemaking. I ask that, after the rulemaking closes, you hold the rules in abeyance until the scientific studies are done so that information can inform regulations that will prevent pollution and avoid degradation. I am concerned about my drinking water, the Wild and Scenic Delaware, and the future of the Watershed. Aquifer and water resource pollution and depletion lasts hundreds of years and cannot ever be fully cleaned up. You must take the time now to ensure that our water is protected.

2. Copy the letter and click on the link below:

3. Fill out the form on the web page, paste the letter into the Comments field and click Submit.

Thank you for helping to make sure the DRBC knows that there is no need to rush into development of natural gas when it could harm the water and well-being of the residents of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware!


After you’ve sent your comments to the NPS, please add your comment below to let us know you’ve taken action. And be sure to help spread the word!