Dear RDA Members,
*In this issue, our 3 stories cover all 3 levels in the gas drilling arena:
federal, state and local. *
*We invite you to take action, read what your fellow citizens have to say
about gas drilling, and reflect with us on the anniversary of saving Rider
Park from the drill.*
*FEDERAL – AN IMPORTANT CALL TO ACTION*
Although much of the conversation on the environmental impacts of gas
drilling has focused on water pollution, the air pollution generated by this
industry poses an equally ominous hazard. For example, in eastern Lycoming
County, at the top of Beaver Lake Road outside Hughesville, in what was once
a bucolic rural setting, sits the Barto compressor. Not only is the scenery
(fields and farmland, country church and little cemetery) changed – so is
the air quality. *According to the EPA web site, s**ome compressor stations
can create the same amount of noxious emissions in one year as the exhausts
of 7500 cars each driving 12,000 miles!*
EPA recognizes the dangers posed to the air we breathe, and is trying to do
something about it. EPA regulators have proposed a suite of highly
cost-effective standards to reduce emissions of smog-forming volatile
organic compounds (VOCs) and other air borne toxins. The rules would also
significantly reduce methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Currently, oil and
gas production and processing accounts for nearly 40 percent of all U.S.
methane emissions, making the oil and gas industry the nation’s single
largest methane source.
* RDA urges you to contact the EPA in support of the proposed rule.* The
comment period ends October 31st, so please act promptly. Due to recent
Congressional rollbacks of numerous environmental laws, we also urge you to
contact your federal legislators and tell them to end the repeal and
watering down of crucial environmental regulations. Visit
www.responsibledrillingalliance.org for legislator contact info.
*How to send your comments to the EPA*:
Comments must be identified by *Docket ID Number EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505*, and
can be submitted by one of the following methods:
ON LINE: Visit www.regulations.gov and follow the instructions for
E-MAIL: Comments may be sent by electronic mail to: a-and-r-Doc...@epa.gov
FAX: Written comments can be faxed to: (202) 566-9744.
U.S. MAIL: Send your comments to: Air and Radiation Docket and Information
Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code: 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania
Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20460.
Be sure to include your name, address, and docket number with all comments
*STATE – CITIZENS SPEAK OUT*
*On the state level, **the final report of the Citizens Marcellus Shale
Commission (CMSC) was just released on Monday. *T*he CMSC summarizes the
many hours of citizen testimony leading up to the 89-page report with this
statement, “Our government officials have let us down, we need better
The report is the culmination of a two-month effort to give citizens a voice
on improving drilling policies and protections. At hearings across the
state, citizens testified to a variety of concerns, but many common themes
emerged. Foremost among them, citizens take their right to clean air and
water very seriously. Again and again, citizens invoked the state
constitution’s guarantee to clean air, pure water and environmental
preservation, and voiced serious concerns that Pennsylvania wasn’t prepared
to responsibly address the impacts of gas drilling.
“There has been a rush to drill in the Marcellus Shale, but Pennsylvanians
want to slow down and ensure the right protections are in place,” said
former state Representative Dan Surra, co-chair of the Commission.
Citizens also expressed concerns that policy and regulatory processes are
disjointed and lack the cohesion needed to address the cumulative impact of
drilling on air, water, open spaces, forests, and human and social
infrastructure, according to the Commission’s report.
The full report is available here:
*LOCAL – THE LESSONS OF RIDER PARK*
*On the local level, it was one year ago that a community-supported “Save
Rider Park” campaign spared the park from downed trees, access roads, truck
traffic, well pads, frack ponds, and drilling rigs. *RDA member and campaign
coordinator Jim Slotterback thinks back on the events of a year ago in a
story he calls,*Reflections from Rider Park*. Jim writes...
On Sunday, my wife Jen and I took our dogs to Rider Park for a leisurely
walk out to Doe Pen Vista. As we were walking, it struck me that it has
been exactly one year since the park was threatened by gas drilling. At
several points during our walk, I stopped and looked around, imagining what
the entire drilling process would have done here. I immediately became
angry. I thought about all the extractive activities that have gone on
around the state since then, and what is yet to come. Truck traffic,
pipelines, deforestation, stream and water degradation, and air quality
issues all raced through my mind.
I’m a paramedic and my wife is a veterinarian. Learning about activism and
gas extraction is daunting. Neither one of us has ever been involved with a
group such as the RDA. We certainly didn’t feel prepared for a “Rider Park
Campaign”, nor were we prepared for our experiences with the RDA.
Unfortunately, life does not always allow for careful preparation. When Jen
found the surveying stakes at Rider Park, we were motivated to do
something. What that “something” was, we did not know at first.
“Seek first to understand, then to be understood”, writes Stephen Covey. Our
Rider Park campaign started by simply gathering information. In our quest
to understand, we learned a great deal, not only about the park itself, but
about First Community Foundation, local politics, non-profit organizations,
the history of our area, and our community here in Pennsylvania. Our quest
for information allowed us to form a targeted and effective strategy.
These are some of the lessons learned from the Rider Park experience: Keep
yourself informed. Understand what is happening around you. Look at ALL
sides of issues. Ask yourself what you are and are not willing to
sacrifice. Then do something about it. Even a signature on a petition or a
form letter to your representative has an impact. Encourage a friend to
join the RDA.
We all care about our communities in our own way. This is our place. We
value our way of life. I believe one of the biggest lessons learned from
Rider Park was that together, we CAN make a difference. Don’t wait until
you find surveying stakes in your favorite place to make your voice heard.
*“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can
change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”.** – Margaret
*NOTE: If you haven't seen the Earthjustice video about the Slotterback's
efforts to save Rider Park, take time to enjoy this delightful 6-minute
presentation at: *