Rep. Jonathan Fritz Calls Foul on DRBC Frack Ban

delaware riverkeeper - Jim Willis reports

Jim Willis
Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)

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Rep. Jonathan Fritz, a native of Wayne County, Pennsylvania has called foul on the members of the DRBC and their double-standards when it comes to fracking.

Pennsylvania House of Representatives member Jonathan Fritz, Republican from Wayne County, is one of the rising stars in the Pennsylvania House. MDN editor Jim Willis has met and spoken with Rep. Fritz twice. Great guy. Conservative. Head screwed on straight. And, he’s called foul on the DRBC ban resolution with one his own.

Fritz serves areas of both Wayne and Susquehanna counties in the northeastern corner of Pennsylvania. Does Wayne County sound familiar? It should. It’s one of two counties where the radicalized Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) wants to ban fracking. A few weeks ago, the Democrat governors of three states—Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware—had their representatives vote to begin the process of placing a permanent ban on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) within the Delaware River Basin.

This is supposedly because fracking is a threat to some imagined 15 million people who get their drinking water from the Delaware River basin. Just one teeny tiny problem.

Fracking is allowed, and has been happening for over 10 years, in the neighboring Susquehanna River Basin, where over 4 million people get their drinking water and three of the members are the same as the DRBC. The SRBC (Susquehanna River Basin Commission) wisely does not restrict fracking. Rather, they only manage water withdrawals/use.

There have been no water issues in the SRBC. Yet, the SRBC members who form the majority of the DRBC demand a ban based on a false meme of water contamination risk. Last week, Rep. Jonathan Fritz introduced House Resolution 515, which (if passed) calls on the DRBC to abandon its efforts to strip away the property rights of people in the DRBC’s jurisdiction by enforcing a frack ban. Here it is:

A RESOLUTION

Urging the Delaware River Basin Commission to suspend consideration of a moratorium on natural gas drilling in the Delaware River Basin.

WHEREAS, the residents of this Commonwealth have waited patiently for the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) to take action regarding the advancement of natural gas extraction in the basin; and

WHEREAS, The special meeting of the DRBC scheduled for 9 November 21, 2011, to consider adoption of draft natural gas development regulations was postponed and to date has created the appearance of being postponed indefinitely; and

WHEREAS, The inaction-based moratorium on natural gas development has exceeded a reasonable time period and, because of such, has caused irreparable economic harm to those who entered into good faith leasing agreements with natural gas developers; and

WHEREAS, As articulated and clarified in their May 8, 2013, press release titled “SRBC Staying In Its Lane, Study Water Quantity,” the Susquehanna River Basin Commission’s purpose and objective is to remain in the agency’s lane of expertise. The SRBC states; “when a regulatory agency chooses to stray out of its lane of expertise and mission, it can have profound programmatic and legal consequences. Most important, however, I believe it does the public a disservice”; and

WHEREAS, The residents and property owners in the Commonwealth have suffered and continue to suffer from the disservice that is a consequence of inaction on behalf of the DRBC; and

WHEREAS, The DRBC should follow a similar regulatory path as the Susquehanna River Basin Commission and focus on its mission as a water management agency to assure the long-term balance between healthy ecosystems and economic vitality; and

WHEREAS, The DRBC should abandon any proposed plans to regulate natural gas drilling beyond the already established functions that focus on water quantity and water quality data collection and analysis; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives urge the Delaware River Basin Commission to suspend consideration of a moratorium on natural gas drilling in the Delaware River Basin.

Editor’s Note: I, too, applaud Jonathan Fritz for the leadership he’s showing with this resolution. This is what needs to happen; sustained challenges to the DRBC’s reckless hijacking of Pennsylvania’s sovereignty as a Commonwealth. Most pols would have simply given us lip service in person and done little or nothing else. Jonathan put his name on the line with his colleagues and took a stand.

Moreover, he did it in a very smart way by raising the issue of the SRBC/DRBC double standards. How can the majority of the DRBC that also represents a majority of the SRBC pretend it doesn’t have all the evidence it needs that fracking is safe when it’s sitting on it? How is that what’s good for the SRBC region isn’t good enough for the DRBC? Where does the DRBC get its supposed authority if the SRBC, based on a very similar compact, claims it lacks such authority? Why is the SRBC committed to “stay in its lane” as the DRBC once did, but the same members, when they put on their DRBC hats, suddenly veer off the highway and plow new paths into the wilderness of statism?

There’s something very rotten going on at the DRBC even though its mostly the same people as the SRBC. Why is that? Why is Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf catering to New Yorkers and not his fellow Pennsylvanians? Why is Steve Tambini, a non-ideological engineer by training, also falling in line with policies he knows are purely ideological and political? It’s as if Carol Collier is still running the place in absentia. Perhaps that’s because she is; as the agent of the Haas family for whom she now works, alongside the Delaware Riverkeeper and myriad other William Penn Foundation shill organizations putting political pressure on the spineless political hacks who are the DRBC.

Here’s what Jonathan says we can all do to help:

Send a letter or email to the DRBC and Gov. Wolf. They need to hear from the constituents that they’ve wronged with this decision. Emails will work also. Phone calls to DRBC and the Governor will work, but they often don’t get documented on the receiving end, hence, they are the least helpful of your contact options.  Letters to the editors of local newspapers are also very helpful.

1) email  Governor at www.governor.pa.gov/contact/

2) send letter to Governor at  508 Main Capitol Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120

3) send letter to DRBC at P.O. Box 7360, West Trenton, NJ 08628-0360

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11 thoughts on “Rep. Jonathan Fritz Calls Foul on DRBC Frack Ban

  1. Environmentalism from the left is the newest form of anti America rhetoric aimed at degrading our scientist both present and future, from adapting to worldwide needs through innovative research and development. Dumbing down science and technology by dummies is the fad of progressive losers

  2. Gross misrepresentation by Mr. Willis, that there are no problems with water in the SRBC basin…
    The DEP has found numerous areas of water contamination from Gas Drilling and spills in my county and other counties in the Basin.
    SRBC does not concern itself with contamination of private water wells.
    And I and others have spoken to Rep. Fritz and asked him several times to come and see the families in my county suffering with water contamination verified by the DEP and help them and meet them and see the evidence.
    He said he would and has yet to do so.
    Disappointing that all you men, in particular, who want fracking in your areas, do not live next door to such and to the infrastructure.
    The DRBC is doing the best job of protecting the water for millions and the individuals you mentioned are not the pawns of foundations…they are speaking their heart-felt truths and stand by them, like many of us.
    We have seen the damage and stand by it.
    Your strong desire for money to save you will not save you…

      • To be fair, Tom, the reports at the srbc.net site do not show any water well monitoring. Only creeks and streams appear to be monitored. Has there been an effort to baseline and monitor water wells, either private or public or are there specific wells constructed just for water quality monitoring?

    • Let’s look at some PA water facts. 3.5 million people in PA get
      their drinking water from over 1,000,000 private wells. Around 20,000 new wells are drilled in PA each year. According to date from the Rural Conservancy, 40% of all PA private fresh water wells do not meet at least one federal water standard. This suggests that over 400,000 fresh water wells are unsafe, and 8,000 new unsafe water wells are drilled each year in PA.

      In other words, 40% of the fresh water wells in your county are likely to show “water contamination” that doesn’t meet federal standards . . . and that was true long before anyone started using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

      Here’s a link to a reference from the USGS regarding contamination in Pike County, PA: http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2014/

      The study began in the summer of 2012 sampled 20 water wells throughout Pike County in various geological formations. Of those 20 wells, four were chosen and monitored monthly for one year to give a solid baseline of water quality for the area. With 80 percent of the wells testing positive for concentrations of methane, one might assume shale development is taking place in the area. That assumption would be incorrect. In fact, Pike County has no oil & gas development.

      Here are some results from the USGS lab:

      16 (80 percent) of the 20 wells had detectable concentrations of methane. Two of those wells had elevated concentrations of methane. (about 3.7 and 5.8 mg/L) The two well-water samples with the highest methane concentrations (about 3.7 and 5.8 mg/L) also had the highest pH values (8.7 and 8.3, respectively) and the highest concentrations of sodium, lithium, boron, fluoride, and bromide. Elevated levels of barium, strontium, and chloride, were also present in the wells with the highest concentrations being in the wells with higher methane concentrations. One well also showed elevated arsenic concentrations, with the arsenic concentration of 30 micrograms per liter (μg/L) it exceeded the drinking-water standard.

      No drilling in Pike County, but the “fresh” water isn’t all that fresh, is it.

    • we have sent MR Fritz a Email last week asking him to come to our Farm to look in to are safety ! suffering with water contamination verified by the DEP and help us and meet them and see the evidence of are water well / Gas well .
      We are just looking to remove are self from in side the Box !
      The Gas Find for the country is a Great win 100% Happy with knowing are country will know longer need to Depend on other countries to supply are fuels .
      with That we are just looking to get on with are life.

      PS. Tom if you like you can come out to are home if you like to see them from DEP Do water well monitoring, for are safety !

  3. I find it Odd that while Vera and her RT NEWS friends make the Claims of the Natural Gas industry contaminating water wells on masse it indeed is not reflected in the Voting in the 2016 election for President. About 80 percent of the Counties in America that have large scale Hydraulic Fracking voted overwhelmingly for Trump and the Republicans. Jill Stein did not even register over one percent of the vote in all the counties she ran in with Hydraulic Fracking taking place. In many fracking counties the difference between Clinton and Trump was a victory margin for TRump of at least 20 percentage points. If there is any secret large-scale water contamination on with a direct link to the Natural Gas industry it certainly isn’t being reflected at the ballot box. Perhaps why Youngstown Ohio has rejected fracking bans twice is there indeed is not much of a problem ?

  4. The issue is about rivers not private water wells. Rivers in the state are not being impacted by fracking. They are not withdrawing enough water to dry them up and they are not being contaminated from it. Rivers in western PA have not been impacted. Vera doesn’t have any proof of contamination of the Susquehanna River to offer so she tries to claim the SRBC doesn’t include water well contamination to try and vilify this situation and instill fear.

  5. “Three Democrat governors”… the ban is a foregone conclusion.

    Incredibly, energy has become an entirely politicized issue completely unmoored from common sense at the hands of the radical left.

    Good luck with your PA Takings suits… in thoroughly corrupt NY it was ruled
    we don’t even have standing to sue- an abjectly criminal travesty.

  6. Pingback: PennFuture Wins A Contest: Commonwealth's Biggest LiarNatural Gas Now

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