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DRBC Postpones Vote on Draft of Natural Gas Regs, Special Meeting Rescheduled for November 21


October 7, 2011

WEST TRENTON, N.J. (Oct. 7) – The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) today announced that the previously scheduled October 21, 2011 special meeting for the commissioners to consider draft natural gas development regulations has been postponed.

The rescheduled special meeting will take place on November 21, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon in the Patriots Theater at the War Memorial, 1 Memorial Drive, in Trenton, N.J. The doors to this public meeting will open at 9:30 a.m. A presentation summarizing the proposed regulations will be provided prior to the vote by the commissioners. The November 21 meeting will not include a hearing to accept comments from the public prior to the anticipated vote.

The previously announced October 21 meeting date is being delayed for a month since additional time is necessary to complete the ongoing process and to allow for an opportunity to publish the modified draft regulations on the DRBC web site (www.drbc.net) two weeks in advance of the expected vote by the commissioners. This web posting, planned for November 7, will be for informational purposes only since comments will not be accepted.

The purpose of the proposed regulations is to protect the water resources of the Delaware River Basin during the development and operation of natural gas projects. The commission received approximately 69,000 submissions commenting on the draft natural gas development regulations that were originally published on December 9, 2010. Six public hearing sessions were held at three locations in February 2011 to receive oral testimony, and written comments were accepted until April 15, 2011, which was an extension from the original March 16 deadline. The commissioners and staff have been reviewing the submissions and considering how the draft rulemaking should be modified based on the public input.

The DRBC is a federal/interstate government agency responsible for managing the water resources within the 13,539 square-mile Delaware River Basin. The five commission members are the governors of the basin states (Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania) and the commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ North Atlantic Division, who represents the federal government.

Additional information can be found on the commission’s web site at www.drbc.net.

Stopped Making Sense

Pennsylvania must be known as the "Keystone" state because its politics, and its regulators, resemble those famous cops from the turn of the century. I can imagine the strong arm tactics applied by the Corbett class onto the DRBC high end staff, as well as the low level of horse trading behind the scenes between the representatives of the commissioners.

The up to 15,000 lbs. per square inch of pressure could have led to the staging of the October 21st date, a date that gave zero public exposure to the new, proposed (to be voted upon) regulations. Imagine that scenario? The DRBC has five regularly scheduled meetings per year, and the agenda for those meetings is published on the DRBC site about 10 days prior to the meetings for all to see, and prepare for. The October 21 process gave nothing to the public except ignorance, and scorn.

Who woke up to the potential ramifications of this faux pas, if it had come to pass?

Even Corbett and Krancer are capable of recognizing the lack of "democratic process" in that sequence.

Now, at least we will get a preview of the oxymoronic regulations whose purpose will be "to protect the water resources of the Delaware River Basin during the development and operation of natural gas projects."

As the ruefully sung song in Josh Fox's GASLAND states, "this is just a nightmare, soon I'm gonna wake up".

We all better wake up. "We all got it comin', kid".