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July 31, 2014
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DRBC regs go too far

Peter Wynne

It is also a matter of concern that the DRBC establishes legal precedents with its rules and determinations. If the regulations now under review are adopted without significant change, the commission could then use them as precedents to impose similarly crippling rules on agriculture and timber harvesting as well as commercial and even residential development. The governance of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in matters of land use and economic development would be superseded by a super-agency that has shown little or no concern for the economic well-being of the people living in the Upper Basin.

The DRBC has offered no real reason for intruding into the commonwealth’s domain. The proposed rules say the goal is to protect the waters of the Delaware and the forests in the environmentally sensitive headwaters region, but there’s no documentation included to show that the states’ oversight in these areas has been deficient. As measured by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) criteria, stream quality in Wayne County has been improving year after year. The percentage of land covered by forests has been increasing for decades and, in its 2010 revision of the state’s Chapter 102 Erosion and Sediment Control regulations, the DEP has greatly tightened rules that had done a good job already.

Residents of the Upper Delaware region are urged to make their feelings known to the DRBC and to the federal and state legislators who ultimately have a say in the conduct of the commission. Information on the DRBC’s hearings in Honesdale, PA, Liberty, NY and Trenton, NJ and guidance on how to submit written comments can be found at www.NaturalGasNow.info/DRBC online. Written comments on the proposed regulations can be posted directly at the National Park Service website at parkplanning.nps.gov/commentForm.cfm?documentID=37829.

[Peter Wynne is media spokesman for the Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance, whose membership includes 1,300-plus land-owning families and organizations having title to upward of 100,000 acres.]