Watch this video that Josh Fox and I created for Vice President Joe Biden asking him to intervene on behalf of the Delaware River and make his voice heard against fracking the Delaware. Then take the easy action steps below.
EASY ACTION STEPS:
• Send a fax to the key targets by clicking here.
• Open a new email, copy the letter below and paste the letter into the email. Put in the subject head Don't Frack the Delaware. Send the email to Public@ovp.eop.gov and email@example.com, or send a message to Vice President Joe Biden by clicking here.
• Call 202-456-1414 and ask to leave a message for Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama.
LETTER TO JOE BIDEN
Dear Vice President Biden,
We respect your integrity, your strength, your leadership and most of all your environmental record.
I am writing to urge you to unequivocally reject the Delaware River Basin Commission’s (DRBC) proposal to allow gas drilling within the Delaware River Basin. The DRBC received 69,800 public comments on their proposed draft regulations which were overwhelmingly against fracking. They have ignored them and in the process ignored the democratic process. Commissioners who vote to allow fracking are on the wrong side of history and will be held accountable.
Hydraulic Fracturing—or Fracking—is a highly dangerous method of drilling for natural gas that risks the safety of our air, water, and food, and threatens the health of our families, communities, and environment and will undoubtedly put into jeopardy these critical considerations in the Delaware River Basin. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy Science Advisory Board’s own Subcommittee on Shale Gas Production recently recommended “[p]reservation of unique and/or sensitive areas as off limits to drilling. . .”
I urge you to say no to fracking in the Delaware River Basin. The charter of the DRBC calls for it to protect water quality in the basin, and clearly calls for nothing else to be considered above this mandate. There has been more than sufficient evidence, through widely documented incidents of contamination, to overwhelmingly convince any individual willing to look at the facts that a practice as potentially catastrophic as hydraulic fracturing should not be considered in a such sensitive area, the drinking water supply for 15.6 million people.
Do not think that a yes vote on these regulations will go unnoticed or unchallenged in the media or in the public sphere. The New York Times, Pro-Publica, and HBO’s GASLAND 2, to name a few media sources will report on fracking in the watershed and organizations with a very wide reach such as 350.org, Democracy for America, NRDC, Environmental Working Group, Catskill MountainKeeper, Delaware RiverKeeper and literally hundreds of others will be extremely vocal about any drilling allowed in the Delaware River Basin. If the regulations pass and the river basin is industrialized beyond recognition and contaminated, it will be forever the legacy of those who voted yes.
This watershed provides drinking water for more than 15 million people, delivering 1,803 million gallons of water every day to public water supplies. That’s about 5% of the nation’s population – including New York City and Philadelphia – who are depending on this relatively small watershed for safe drinking water every day. From massive water withdrawals to leaks and spills of toxics-laden frack fluid to the generation of millions of gallons of wastewater – sometimes laced with radioactive substances – the for gas drilling to pollute our water is grave. Specifically, and documented in the New York City Department of Environmental Protection’s Hazen and Sawyer Report, slick water horizontal hydraulic fracturing uses around 350,000-400,000 pounds of chemicals per well, many of these extremely toxic and cancer causing. To allow such obviously carcinogenic and dangerous activity near the sole or primary drinking water source for millions of Americans is nothing short of an invitation to disaster.
Moreover, the Delaware River Basin is vital to our ecology and quality of life. Its national park recreation areas are so treasured that 5.4 million visitors come each year to hike, camp, boat, or swim. Drinking water for millions, habitat for wildlife, and recreation for millions: one is hard-pressed to find meaning in the DOE subcommittee’s phrase “unique and or sensitive areas” if you do not apply it to the Delaware River Basin. With this clear and defining policy statement, how could one actually move forward to drill and inject so much chemically laden water into such a sensitive and vital American Treasure?
Moreover, oil and gas industry claims that drilling will aid economic recovery are patently false. In fact, drilling will damage the Basin’s existing economic value. The value of its water supply alone has recently been calculated by a University of Delaware study at $3,767,000 in annual economic value. Looking at the many aspects of economic value that the River provides, this study concludes that “[t]he Delaware Basin contributes close to $22 billion in annual market/non-market value to the regional economy…” Much of that value derives from forests, water supply and high water quality. These are the very assets at risk if natural gas development moves ahead in the Marcellus and Utica Shales, located in the Upper and Middle Delaware River Watershed. More so, many families in Pennsylvania, are already finding that after contamination, the value of their homes has dropped precipitously to what it once was. This is not the economic benefit that, during such a time of economic hardship, should be even be considered.
Surely you have noticed that the only contingents interested in pushing forward with fracking are ones that stand to benefit financially, who consistently dismiss the economic hardships and environmental degradation caused by the collateral damage incurred from this risky practice. This sort of omission and faulty economic analysis leaves the greater public liable for the true costs of contamination in numerous, and painful ways. Giving a yes vote to something that could potentially harm the general public in such a way would be nothing short of granting license to harm millions of Americans for the economic prosperity of a few.
There is an out, just as New York has urged no drilling in its watersheds which serve huge populations (the watersheds for New York City and Syracuse) the Obama Administration and the state of Delaware can vote to disallow fracking in the Delaware river basin which also serves a huge number of people with drinking water.
Currently New York Attorney General has filed suit against the commission for failing in its obligation to complete a cumulative impact study of hydrofracking on the river basin, which is required of the commission by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This means that the DRBC would be violating the law in allowing gas drilling regulations. We urge you to reject all drilling in the river basin flat out, but, at very least, the DRBC is required to do a multi-year cumulative impact study, which would truly assess the impact on the river basin, by federal law.
I strongly urge you to reject the proposed regulations to drill and call on you to protect the Delaware River Basin from fracked gas drilling. Please stand with this National Wild and Scenic River, its communities and habitats, and the more than 15 million people who rely on the Delaware for their water. To do otherwise could be catastrophic, and would surely cement your historic decision to reflect alignment with the polluting fossil fuel industry for generations to come. We voted you into office to serve and protect all of the people, not just the few who wish to profit at all costs.
Please make sure the DRBC votes no on the proposed regulations and insist on a ban in this fragile, scenic, historic, and critical watershed that serves millions of Americans.
sign your name
For more information, click here.
Yet another former Trump administration staffer has come out with an endorsement for former Vice President Joe Biden, this time in response to President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Trump Denies CDC Director's 2021 Timeline for Coronavirus Vaccine ›
- Trump Orders Hospitals to Stop Sending COVID-19 Data to CDC ... ›
- Two White House Staffers Test Positive for Coronavirus - EcoWatch ›
- Trump Admin to Disband Coronavirus Task Force - EcoWatch ›
- Pence Offers 'Prayers' as Hurricane Laura Hits Gulf Coast While ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Every September for the past 11 years, non-profit the Climate Group has hosted Climate Week NYC, a chance for business, government, activist and community leaders to come together and discuss solutions to the climate crisis.
- Covering the 2020 Elections as a Climate Story - EcoWatch ›
- Coronavirus Delays 2020 Earth Overshoot Day by Three Weeks ... ›
By Elliot Douglas
The coronavirus pandemic has altered economic priorities for governments around the world. But as wildfires tear up the west coast of the United States and Europe reels after one of its hottest summers on record, tackling climate change remains at the forefront of economic policy.
- German Business Leaders Call for Climate Action With COVID-19 ... ›
- Climate Activists Protest Germany's New Datteln 4 Coal Power Plant ... ›
By D. André Green II
One of nature's epic events is underway: Monarch butterflies' fall migration. Departing from all across the United States and Canada, the butterflies travel up to 2,500 miles to cluster at the same locations in Mexico or along the Pacific Coast where their great-grandparents spent the previous winter.
Millions of People Care About Monarchs<p>I will never forget the sights and sounds the first time I visited monarchs' overwintering sites in Mexico. Our guide pointed in the distance to what looked like hanging branches covered with dead leaves. But then I saw the leaves flash orange every so often, revealing what were actually thousands of tightly packed butterflies. The monarchs made their most striking sounds in the Sun, when they burst from the trees in massive fluttering plumes or landed on the ground in the tussle of mating.</p><p>Decades of educational outreach by teachers, researchers and hobbyists has cultivated a generation of monarch admirers who want to help preserve this phenomenon. This global network has helped restore not only monarchs' summer breeding habitat by planting milkweed, but also general pollinator habitat by planting nectaring flowers across North America.</p><p>Scientists have calculated that restoring the monarch population to a stable level of about 120 million butterflies will require <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/icad.12198" target="_blank">planting 1.6 billion new milkweed stems</a>. And they need them fast. This is too large a target to achieve through grassroots efforts alone. A <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/CCAA.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">new plan</a>, announced in the spring of 2020, is designed to help fill the gap.</p>
Pros and Cons of Regulation<p>The top-down strategy for saving monarchs gained energy in 2014, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service <a href="https://www.fws.gov/southeast/pdf/petition/monarch.pdf" target="_blank">proposed</a> listing them as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. A decision is expected in December 2020.</p><p>Listing a species as endangered or threatened <a href="https://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/listing.pdf" target="_blank">triggers restrictions</a> on "taking" (hunting, collecting or killing), transporting or selling it, and on activities that negatively affect its habitat. Listing monarchs would impose restrictions on landowners in areas where monarchs are found, over vast swaths of land in the U.S.</p><p>In my opinion, this is not a reason to avoid a listing. However, a "threatened" listing might inadvertently threaten one of the best conservation tools that we have: public education.</p><p>It would severely restrict common practices, such as rearing monarchs in classrooms and back yards, as well as scientific research. Anyone who wants to take monarchs and milkweed for these purposes would have to apply for special permits. But these efforts have had a multigenerational educational impact, and they should be protected. Few public campaigns have been more successful at raising awareness of conservation issues.</p>
<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="91165203d4ec0efc30e4632a00fdf57d"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KilPRvjbMrA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
The Rescue Attempt<p>To preempt the need for this kind of regulation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved a <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/pdfs/Monarch%20CCAA-CCA%20Public%20Comment%20Documents/Monarch-Nationwide_CCAA-CCA_Draft.pdf" target="_blank">Nationwide Candidate Conservation Agreement for Monarch Butterflies</a>. Under this plan, "rights-of-way" landowners – energy and transportation companies and private owners – commit to restoring and creating millions of acres of pollinator habitat that have been decimated by land development and herbicide use in the past half-century.</p><p>The agreement was spearheaded by the <a href="http://rightofway.erc.uic.edu/" target="_blank">Rights-of-Way Habitat Working Group</a>, a collaboration between the University of Illinois Chicago's <a href="https://erc.uic.edu/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Energy Resources Center</a>, the Fish and Wildlife Service and over 40 organizations from the energy and transportation sectors. These sectors control "rights-of-way" corridors such as lands near power lines, oil pipelines, railroad tracks and interstates, all valuable to monarch habitat restoration.</p><p>Under the plan, partners voluntarily agree to commit a percentage of their land to host protected monarch habitat. In exchange, general operations on their land that might directly harm monarchs or destroy milkweed will not be subject to the enhanced regulation of the Endangered Species Act – protection that would last for 25 years if monarchs are listed as threatened. The agreement is expected to create up to 2.3 million acres of new protected habitat, which ideally would avoid the need for a "threatened" listing.</p>
A Model for Collaboration<p>This agreement could be one of the few specific interventions that is big enough to allow researchers to quantify its impact on the size of the monarch population. Even if the agreement produces only 20% of its 2.3 million acre goal, this would still yield nearly half a million acres of new protected habitat. This would provide a powerful test of the role of declining breeding and nectaring habitat compared to other challenges to monarchs, such as climate change or pollution.</p><p>Scientists hope that data from this agreement will be made publicly available, like projects in the <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/MCD.html" target="_blank">Monarch Conservation Database</a>, which has tracked smaller on-the-ground conservation efforts since 2014. With this information we can continue to develop powerful new models with better accuracy for determining how different habitat factors, such as the number of milkweed stems or nectaring flowers on a landscape scale, affect the monarch population.</p><p>North America's monarch butterfly migration is one of the most awe-inspiring feats in the natural world. If this rescue plan succeeds, it could become a model for bridging different interests to achieve a common conservation goal.</p>
The annual Ig Nobel prizes were awarded Thursday by the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research for scientific experiments that seem somewhat absurd, but are also thought-provoking. This was the 30th year the awards have been presented, but the first time they were not presented at Harvard University. Instead, they were delivered in a 75-minute pre-recorded ceremony.