November 16, 2011 —
With a vote coming soon on new rules for gas drilling in the Delaware River Basin, individuals opposed to it have announced a “Watershed General Assembly” to be held at the Tusten Town Hall in Narrowsburg, NY on Saturday, November 19 at 4:00 p.m.
A press release from the organizers makes reference to the fact that the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) will soon be adopting new regulations regarding drilling and hydraulic fracturing, and permits will likely follow shortly thereafter. The release adds, however, “We citizens will not allow these injustices to occur.”
The release enumerates a long list of complaints against the drilling industry and concludes with the lines, “So we will now put our bodies on the line. It is time for peaceful civil action to preserve our rights and our homes.”
The vote by the DRBC is scheduled for November 21, and various groups are calling for demonstrations at 7:30 a.m. on the morning of the voting at Patriots Theater at the War Memorial, at 1 Memorial Drive in Trenton, NJ.
If the results of similar meetings in the past are any indication, it should draw large numbers of demonstrators on both sides of the issue. But there is little chance that they will change the positions of the commissioners.
John Hanger, former secretary of the PA Department of Environmental Protection, predicted in a blog last week that the new rules for fracking will be passed by the DRBC.
The votes will be directed by the five commissioners, and some of their votes are predictable. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett will almost certainly vote yes, as will New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Colonel Christopher Larsen, the federal commissioner from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is also expected to vote yes.
On the other side of the question, Delaware Governor Jack Markell was expected to vote against the rules, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo may go either way.
Various groups are arranging for bus trips to Trenton, NJ from multiple locations in the Northeast. Visit http://bit.ly/sNvulg  for more information.