The DRBC Concludes Its Sham Hearings with Comedy Routine

natural gas now - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

The DRBC finished its sham hearings on its proposed fracking ban yesterday with a phone-in exercise that started late, ended early and was a comedy routine.

The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) ended its sham set of hearings on its proposed fracking ban yesterday. It was a joke. Set up as experimental hearing format where testimony was given by phone, it did have one redeeming value. The witnesses, because, they couldn’t be seen in full theatrical mode, could be judged by the content of their remarks. Much like The Voice, the format allowed those listening to evaluate the output itself without being distracted by appearances. It illustrated just how completely hollow, unscientific and, frankly, comedic, the pro-ban testimony was. This was the case throughout the hearings but the call-in format highlighted the foolishness.

DRBCThe hearing was supposed to start at 1:30 PM and go to 3:30 PM but Steve Tambini, who acted as hearing officer for this one, didn’t get started to 1:40 PM. Actual testimony began about 1:45 PM and was essentially over at 2:30 PM but held open until later, apparently drawing out a few others, including Tracy Carluccio. She came on sometime after I spoke to attempt a rebuttal of the SRBC water quality point I and numerous others had made repeatedly at earlier hearings.

I had disconnected at that point but I’m told she wasn’t convincing. The fact she attempted, though, is a sign the conclusion of SRBC water quality studies that natural gas development has had “no discernible impact on the quality of water resources” in a basin where the same member states are involved, hit home. It will have to be addressed and it would be a virtually insurmountable obstacle to a ban if there was any intellectual honesty among DRBC members or they weren’t determined to make a raw political power grab that it is, in effect, a legal taking of mineral rights owned by upper basin landowners.

There were two dozen people who testified by phone, according to our friends at Energy In Depth, who monitored all the hearings. Altogether, the hearings drew out 218 people, none of whom were named Josh Fox. It seems the gas is gone from this schtick and he’s now pursuing some other comedy routine “to get on national tv,” just as did with fracking when his career needed a boost. Meanwhile, others phoned in the comedy at the last DRBC hearing.

One example will suffice. About 20 minutes into the testimony, a gentleman named Rapp from downriver came on the line to make what was the typical laundry list of ancient long-debunked talking points that most witnesses relied upon. His testimony was largely incoherent as he went from opposing any changes in the DRBC administrative manual to supporting a ban, without seeming to understand a word of what he was talking about.

Then he got to his evidence of how fracking would “poison drinking water.” He related how he and his wife had recently visited a McDonalds near his home (nowhere near fracking, by the way) to get coffees. “When we tasted the coffee, we both knew immediately that it contained toxic chemicals,” he said. “We took the coffees home and didn’t know what to do with them, knowing that dumping them down the drain might destroy our septic system.”


Poisoned with toxic chemicals or just a bad joke?

I’m not kidding. That’s what he said. I suppose the trial lawyer who sued McDonalds for the coffee being too hot might find his testimony plausible but I doubt anyone else did or possibly could. It was pure, even if unintentional, comedy and represented the quality of most of the testimony given. There were only three pro-gas witnesses, one of whom was me as I related a few of the points from this post highlighting the serious problems with the ban proposal. My friend Uni Blake also spoke and here is her testimony.

EID says there we’re another 40 pro-gas speakers at other hearings and, of course, some of us spoke more than once. Anti-gas, pro-ban speakers numbered 175 with some repeats as well. The numbers, though, are deceiving, as the Sierra Club sent several representatives and the folks who showed up on the pro-ban side were overwhelmingly down-river special interests with no real stake in the outcome other than their desire to kill the oil and gas industry, grab our land and please their big-timer gentry class funders. Moreover, they’re all the same people. The Clean Air Council, Delaware Riverkeeper, Sierra Club and Catskill Mountainkeeper all serve as shills for the Haas, Heinz and Rockefeller families.

It’s also worth noting the other side is mostly composed of people who don’t work for a living or are paid to work for those who don’t work for a living, whereas our side is composed of people who, if not retired, have to take time off to testify. In the end, the other side will pad their numbers with more comedy routines in writing and, no doubt swamp our numbers. It doesn’t matter, though, because the DRBC decision has already been made and the hearings are 100% sham. This is a matter that will be decided in the courts, which are the refuge of those seeking justice from an obviously corrupted DRBC.

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