PennFuture Blog

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How to Effectively Comment on the DRBCís Draft Fracking Regulations

On Nov. 30, 2017, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) issued draft regulations regarding fracking within the Delaware River Basin.  
 
In short, the draft regulations do the following:
  • Prohibits high-volume hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in shale and other rock formations within the Basin;
  • Regulates Delaware River water use for fracking outside of the Basin (inter-basin water transfer); and
  • Regulates the treatment and disposal of produced water/wastewater from fracking from outside of the Basin.
As with any proposed regulations, DRBC is accepting public comment on its draft fracking regulations. Submitting written comments on proposed environmental actions is a way to make your voice heard and to influence decisions on the issues you care about.  
 
Public participation is an essential part of the rulemaking process. In particular, public comments can do the following:
  • Strengthen a regulation;
  • Create a comprehensive and accurate record; and
  • Support an appropriate and informed decisionmaking process.
While PennFuture continues to review and develop its own comments, we strongly encourage each and every one of you to write to DRBC to express your gratitude (banning fracking in the Basin!) and your concerns (allowing other dangerous activities).
 
Written public comments can be as short or as detailed as you want them to be, but there are a few tips and techniques that can help make your comments persuasive.  
 
And so, PennFuture developed a short video on “How to Effectively Engage in the Public Commenting Process.” These tips include:
  • Use specific examples and highlight how the regulations could impact you, your family, your community, and the natural resources you love.
  • Use persuasive language throughout.
  • Present your comments in a clear, concise, and respectful manner.
DRBC is accepting public comment on these draft regulations until 5 p.m. on March 30.  
 
Unfortunately, the only way to submit written comments on these draft regulations is through DRBC’s online comments webpage at http://dockets.drbc.commentinput.com/.  DRBC is not accepting emailed, faxed, or hand- or postal-delivered comments. (PennFuture submitted this letter  regarding DRBC’s flawed public participation process.)
 
Public Hearings
The DRBC is also holding public hearings during which it will accept oral comments on its draft fracking regulations. It’s not too late to register to attend these hearings and hear others’ concerns. Although the deadline to register to speak has passed, DRBC has indicated that you may still be able to register to speak if time is available.
  • Hearing #1: Jan. 23: 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    • Performing Arts & Recreation Center (PARC) Pavilion at the Ladore Camp, Retreat and Conference Center, 287 Owego Turnpike, Waymart, PA 18472
  • Hearing #2: Jan. 23: 6 p.m. to as late as 9:30 p.m.
    • Performing Arts & Recreation Center (PARC) Pavilion at the Ladore Camp, Retreat and Conference Center, 287 Owego Turnpike, Waymart, PA 18472
  • Hearing #3: Jan. 25: 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Philadelphia Airport, 4509 Island Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19153. 
  • Hearing #4: Jan. 25: 6 p.m. to as late as 9:30 p.m.
    • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Philadelphia Airport, 4509 Island Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19153
  • Hearing #5: Feb. 22, 3 p.m. to as late as 7 p.m. 
    • Lisa Scheller-Wayne Woodman Community Services Center, Lehigh Carbon Community College, 4525 Education Park Dr., in Schnecksville, Pa.  
  • Hearing #6: March 6, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. 
    • The commission will host a moderated public hearing by telephone.  Members of the public are encouraged to listen by calling 1-866-831-8713 and asking the operator to connect them to the DRBC call.  Those wishing to address the commission at this hearing can register for an opportunity to speak at http://bit.ly/2pdqxQ9.

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