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Rally replaces protest in Trenton

Members of the Gray Panthers contributed their passion and perspective to the rally.

November 22, 2011

TRENTON, NJ — A crowd estimated at nearly 1,000 people gathered at the Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton on November 21 to celebrate the postponement of the vote on the Delaware River Basin Commission’s proposed natural gas regulations—and to keep the pressure on.

A series of speakers including renowned author, biologist and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber, actor Mark Ruffalo, filmmaker Josh Fox, Delaware Riverkeeper Maya van Rossum and more, addressed the crowd.

According to activist Alice Zinnes, who participated in the rally, Delaware Governor Markell was repeatedly lauded for “listening to the voices of thousands who called and emailed, outlining the potentially catastrophic effects of fracking in the Delaware River Basin.”

To rousing cheers, speakers reminded the crowd that the victory was just a beginning. “The river basin is still threatened with a DRBC vote in the future,” said Zinnes. “Pennsylvania and the 32 states where fracking exists are part of the same battle.

“Speakers pointed out that it was in Trenton in 1776 that Washington crossed the Delaware initiating America’s revolution, and that this day marks the beginning of a new revolution where we take back our land and water from corporate interests,” she added.

Rally participants then marched to the New Jersey State House to meet with legislators and later participated in a training session on civil disobedience.

Not everyone was pleased with the postponement. On November 18, PA Governor Tom Corbett issued a press release expressing his disappointment. “Pennsylvania is ready to move forward now,” Corbett said. “We have worked with our commission partners in good faith, and it is disappointing to not have these efforts reciprocated.”

“Today’s delay—driven more by politics than sound science—is a decision to put off the creation of much-needed jobs, to put off securing our energy independence and to infringe upon the property rights of thousands of Pennsylvanians,” Corbett said.

Though many Pennsylvanians still believe fracking can be done safely, Corbett's perspective doesn't fairly reflect that of the residents who don't want fracking in the state, such as the large number of landowners who have not leased their land.

Looks as though our mortgage

Looks as though our mortgage fear was a false alarm.


I still hate the idea of the few getting rich while ruining our river.

alternative mortgage view part 2

Yesterday, I wrote a comment in response to the link posted by Marj H Bates, who seems to have TheNatural viewpoints of TheHick, two former anonymous commenters in this online section. Ms. Bates sounds a little like Tyler Durden's grandmother, or as TheNatural described her in The Wayne Independent blog, "some old lady named Bates". He would certainly know, after all, when he looks in the mirror, he sees her.

I bring this up not just to point out how difficult it is for TRR to maintain an upright, comment forum, but, more because the persona of Ms. Bates portrays her as "adamantly" anti-drilling, and from Brooklyn (ah, the "outsider" motif beloved by TheHick), while expressing views that portray her as ignorant, fearful, shallow, and jealous of those landowners who may receive royalty payments through shale gas extraction.

Having established that character, "she" has now twice inserted a link to a short letter by a Cooperstown lawfirm of two lawyers, that supports the pro drillers contention that mortgages do not, and never will, experience a problem from this industrial development next to their homes. "She" considers this gospel. "She" refers to the mortgage question as an "urban myth", as "she" bounces from prior absolute fear, to current absolute reassurance. While sharing this link with readers, "she" implies that "she" has been misled by anti-frac'ing forces, and wonders in what other areas "she" has been misled by these forces.

In another post, "she" refers to the election in Damascus as an "overwhelming" defeat for the anti-drillers, and states that "she" will move back to Brooklyn, where elections are fair.

In three and a half years of being deeply involved with the shale gas extraction threat to our planet, I have never met such a colleague as portrayed by Ms. Bates, except in the playbook laid out by the shale gas lessors. It amazes me how much time they seem to have to waste, and how little substantive argument, and information, they have to present to the public.

With further information in mind, Ian Urbina wrote a follow up article to the mortgage issue in yesterday's New York Times. It is filled with reports of both state, and federal investigations, that are going to be, or are being, conducted into this mortgage, and homeowner insurance question.

"Ms. Bates" might calm herself, or become afraid yet again, by reading the article. Either way "she" will become better informed.


alternative mortgage view

The other link is to a letter from an upstate law firm. Since when is that the authority on the multiple issues related to mortgage loans, home insurance, and property values, among others?

The link I provide below is to an article published in the NYS Bar Association Law Journal.


Really, people should not allow themselves to become ping pong balls, battered back and forth.

If you have a mortgage or homeowner's loan, and home insurance, call the bank and company and speak with your agent.
Tell them you might like to lease your property for shale gas extraction and ask if they have any restrictions, and how it might impact your situation, as it may apply to any of these.

Just a thought: If you have a well pad, and there might be 10 wells drilled at some point, and it is 500' from your house, why on earth would that affect your homeowner's insurance? Why would it impact your property value?

Anyway, check your own specific case if you want an authoritative voice, and get it in writing.

If the DRBC meeting had not been cancelled

There would have been many more showing up. This is just going to keep building, as drilling the Delaware River Basin simply defies logic.

The three "pillars" that supporters of shale gas extraction state as fact; economic prosperity for the Basin, lasting jobs for a large majority of locals, and energy independence, are either highly disputable, or in the third case, downright false.

It is not difficult to extrapolate, from the USGS figure of 84tcf of shale gas they report to be contained within the entire Marcellus area, an equally respectable figure for the amount of recoverable shale gas that lies within the Delaware River Basin.

Halliburton defines the Marcellus play area as spreading out over 95,000 square miles. The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) states that the Basin includes 13,539 square miles, and that approximately 36% of that area overlays the Marcellus shale. This decreases the recoverable shale gas area in the Basin to 4,874 square miles.

Based simply on area, if 95,000 square miles hold 84tcf, then, 4,874 square miles hold 4.28tcf of recoverable gas.

The United States consumes more than 23tcf per year, at current usage rates. The entire Marcellus area of 95,000 square miles, therefore, holds just under 44 months worth of gas supply. That is 3 years and 8 months worth of gas.

The Delaware River Basin overlays just 5.1 percent the area of the Marcellus. This means that it can supply the United States consumers with 67 and 1/3rd days worth of gas. That is roughly 2 months and 6 days worth of gas.

Months back, the NWPOA, and the JLCNY, tried to minimize the productive area within the Basin, in their attempt to minimize the projected impacts made by the DRBC (up to 18,000 wells in the Basin wrote the DRBC). The lessor groups projected an area decreased from 36% to 8%? 12%? I don't remember, but one gets the idea, they projected it to be much smaller. If 12%, then the amount of recoverable gas drops to 1/3rd the supply, or 22 days worth of U.S. gas consumption?

So, we risk, to varying degrees (depending on whether you live inside the extraction zone, or downstream), the water, air and health of 15 million people, for a piddling amount of gas, so that a proportionately miniscule number of lessors, along with the likes of Hess, Newfield, Chesapeake and Exxon, may make a proportionately huge amount of money?

In any case, this is not energy independence by the wildest stretch of the imagination. As for the economics and jobs arguments, they are questioned brilliantly in the Deborah Rogers "Shale Gas: Panacea or Shell Game?" video now on-line at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYzU4bEfJ5U&feature=channel_video_title