What is Fractured River?

Hydraulic Fracturing is the method of extracting natural gas from deep shale formations. The Delaware River basin originates in an area of exceptionally rich gas deposits known as the Marcellus Shale formation. This blog explores some of the issues and concerns involved with the extraction process in the ecologically fragile river basin.

Friday, April 22, 2011

An Open Letter to the Delaware River Basin Commission

Before you are decisions that test the vision and integrity of the DRBC. I ask that you consider carefully the following items before sanctioning drilling in the upper basin of the Delaware River.

The federal EPA will not come to a decision on hydraulic fracturing until 2014. Can you unequivocally state that drilling is safe enough to preclude waiting for the collective research, discussions and decisions that can be gleaned from this unique national perspective?

Have you studied the numerous accidents and environmental repercussions which have already been documented in other states, and can you aver without reservation that these will not occur in the Delaware River Basin?

Do you consider the current rate of accidents at other drilling sites and the potential under-reporting of problems to be acceptable risks? If the same standards and disparate interests were to be involved with commercial flying, would you board that plane?

Are you looking beyond just the numbers of those in favor and those against drilling? Are you considering which interests are more closely aligned with long-term protection of our resources, and which are aligned with short-term gains?

Have you weighed the long-term impact of what there is to gain against what there is to lose? Do the best gains cancel out the greatest losses?

Have you considered that in just the past 11 months, two other forms of raw energy extraction created significant environmental damage despite the best assurances of the energy interests involved. Whether it is Deepwater Horizon or Fukushima Daiichi, both have presented situations that have defied the worst predictions. Will your upcoming decision against this backdrop reflect a greater wisdom?

You are the guardians of an important natural and historic resource, one that has struggled back from previous insults to its fragile ecology. Please make your decision along the lines of what is best for the river - let that be the guiding principle, for that is ultimately the measure that matters the most.

The DRBC is characterized in it's own vision statement as "the leader in protecting, enhancing, and developing the water resources of the Delaware River Basin for present and future generations." Don't put the resources entrusted to you into the hands of those whose primary interests are monetary gain, and who are unlikely to be here down the road when your children are faced with the monumental task of reclaiming a toxic watershed.