Thursday, March 31, 2011

Payback Time: Governor Corbett Fast-Tracks the Drilling Process

Tens of thousands of gas fracking wells are planned along the 
Delaware watershed, the drinking water source for 15 million of us

Posted by: Noël Jones

Things have just gone from bad to worse. Joseph Tanfani and Craig R. McCoy report in today's Philadelphia Inquirer on line, that Governor Corbett has just issued a new internal directive that no environmental inspectors can issue violations  to natural gas drillers in the Marcellus Shale without prior approval from Corbett's newly appointed DEP Secretary, Michael Krancer. As stated in the article, "Inspectors worry that the new order amounts to a 'backdoor way to castrate the regulations,'" and as Pennsylvania's former DEP Secretary John Hangar says, the unprecedented rule is "akin to forcing a highway trooper to get approval from the head of the state police before writing a ticket." 

Governor Corbett is reported to have received $800,000 from gas industry contributors to his campaign for governor. Apparently, it's payback time, and he is fast-tracking drilling before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can finish its cumulative impact report on health risks that is due to be completed next year.

I'm sure that most readers here are familiar with the health risks associated with fracking for natural gas by now, and the plight of 16 families in Dimock, PA, just two hours north of us, who

have settle with Cabot Oil & Gas for millions, including in-home water mitigation systems, since their drinking water has become toxic and made them sick (along with destroying their property values). If you have not already seen the films Split Estate, which focuses on fracking out West and/or GASLAND, which focuses mainly on fracking in PA, please watch them on Netflix to get up to speed.

Without the ability for inspectors to issue violations, the gas drillers can continue to dump frack waste on land and into streams and rivers, without fear of consequences. There were 750 violations issued to gas drillers in PA last year alone.

Here are three in-depth articles from The New York Times on this issue:

Regulation Lax As Gas Well's Tainted Water Hits Rivers
Pressure Grows for Answers on Fracking
Water Recycling No Cure-All In Gas Process

Please use the Access Government links on the right side bar of this page to call or email our state officials to express your outrage, and demand a statewide moratorium until the EPA study on health risks is complete.


noel jones said...

Everyone, please call our public officials TODAY. Carve out 5 minutes and do your part--this could seriously be the end of clean safe drinking water from our taps...

ferebee said...

*of* course.

Cristina and Richard said...

Calling now...

noel jones said...

As I have serious doubts as to whether our Republican governor will care if our Democratic legislators advocate on our behalf, please call Sen. Bob Mensch instead--he is a Republican who has expressed concerns about health risks related to natural gas drilling in past--I just called and left a message for him--please do the same!

Bob Mensch (R)
Senate District 24
Bucks (part), Lehigh (part), Montgomery (part)
and Northampton (part) Counties.

ADDRESS: Senate Box 203024
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3024

ROOM: 459 Capitol Building

TELEPHONE: (717) 787-3110
FAX: (717) 787-8004

D.O. ADDRESS: 404 Main Street, Suite A
Pennsburg, PA 18073
(215) 541-2388
FAX: (215) 541-2387



DISTRICT NEWS: District Newsletters

noel jones said...

Please also contact the Governor Corbett's office:

Governor's Office
225 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120
Phone: (717) 787-2500
Fax: (717) 772-8284
E-mail the Governor's Office

I just called his office and left a message myself. Mensch's office at least asks for your address...

Alan Raisman said...


Please also note State Senator Mensch's Easton office.

Northampton County Office
1701 Washington Boulevard
Easton, PA 18042
Phone (610) 250-5624
FAX (610) 250-5628
1st & 4th Tuesday 12-4:30 pm
2nd & 3rd Tuesday 9-4:30 pm
Thursday 9-4:30 pm

noel jones said...

Thanks, Alan.

Dennis R. Lieb said...

Very interesting that our current Governor - and most recent former Attorney General - has so little respect for the regulatory process. But that's no surprise since he spent all his time as AG taking small PA municipal governments to court to sue them on behalf of corporations when those municipalities tried to pass local ordinances to stop sewage sludge from being spread on their farmland or prevent them from banning factory hog farming. Google the ACRE law to see what I'm talking about.

We are not a state...we are a colony of big business. While the big corps pay no taxes, we instead are taxed without representation. Does this sound a little like 1776 all over again? Maybe it deserves the same response as well.