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BREAKING News: Red Cross Citizen of the Year Displaces 32 Families for Profit

March 23, 2012

BREAKING News: Red Cross Citizen of the Year Displaces 32 Families for Profit

Link to this post on social media:


32 families evicted from Jersey Shore PA
to make way for water withdrawal facility for hydrofracking.

Refugees for commerce.

New Video, by Scott Cannon


Direct result of recent SRBC actions.
Aqua America = privatized water
=> profits from provisioning of something essential to life DeBenedictis, CEO of Aqua America
won Citizen of the Year award from American Red Cross…

SADLY IRONIC: these families will need services of Red Cross.

Biggest customer of Aqua America is Execlon energy.

Nick DeBenedictis also head up Excelon Energy. Huh.

Top 5 threats to world’s drinking water include Dirty Energy and Privatized Water,
two things DeBenedictis specializes in:

Which I guess is sexy:

New Video, by Scott Canon

More info:

Please help distribute this alert to

* local media in Williamsport PA,
* Philadelphia PA (home of Aqua America / Bryn Mawr)
* Media in Harrisburg and Albany (fracking immanent in NY)
* media in areas where HVH fracking is being done
* national media

Press release by William Huston,
affiliated with NYRAD & Shaleshock Media

Update: Families given until June to move out:



March 15, 2012



This morning, voting inaudibly, while being drown out by protestors calling out, “I pledge to protect the Susquehenna,” and “Illegitimate vote,” the SRBC approved permits for dozens of water withdrawals amounting to billions of gallons of fresh water for fracking.

The SRBC is irresponsibly escalating and accelerating a dangerous toxic extraction process which has already sickened and killed people and animals due to exposure to these deadly industrial chemicals.  

“With no cumulative impact statement, and no health impact assessment, fracking must not move forward in the Susquehanna river basin.  Forty organizations have called for these illegitimate water withdrawals to cease, at least until a cumulative impact study is done.  The SRBC must begin to do its job.” said Iris Marie Bloom one of the testifiers who risked arrest for speaking out today. 

“It is patently in opposition to the charter of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission for it to approve any water withdrawals without a complete and cumulative analysis of the potential impacts from the use of this water to the health of citizens, animals and the river basin itself.  Approving any water withdrawals for an inherently dangerous and toxic practice like hydraulic fracturing isn’t what I would call “enhancing public welfare through comprehensive planning,” nor would I consider it “excellent service to the public.”  Shame on the SRBC.   Clearly they aren’t serving their stated purpose and we are left to assume they are serving something else entirely.  The people are clearly speaking, but who is listening?”, said David Braun from United for Action.    

“The voice of the people was strong today, but fell on the deaf ears of our government’s bureaucrats. Today was the vote that could not be heard,” said Lynne Iser of Protecting Our Waters.  

“Removing this much water permanently, as well as introducing toxins into the environment, cutting trees for roads and well-pads should be illegal, but it’s not.  Proceeding with these permits could mean a significant loss of life within the basin.  Unfortunately, our government watchdogs, the ones who are supposed to be protecting us, are turning a blind eye and letting big business have its way”, said William Huston, Shaleshock Media.   

“Our water is our most valuable resource. We need it for agriculture and for life. Prostituting this precious resource for the profit of the gas companies is not in the best interests of our health and communities,” said Cynthia Campbell from Don’t Frack Sharon Springs. 

“President Obama must understand that he can’t allow the people of Pennsylvania to be poisoned by the fracking industry and expect to be elected,” said Alex Lortorto, another attendee of the hearing.

Ten protestors who disrupted the meeting all did so having been told that any verbal disruption would result in arrest. 

No arrests took place, but one activist, a mother of five, was scrutinized intensely when she stopped to drink from a water fountain. 

The protesters, while determined, remained peaceful and civil throughout the meeting.  


Press Contact:  Iris Marie Bloom

Protecting Our Waters

PH: 215-840-6489





March 14, 2012

For Immediate Release: March 13, 2012 

ATTENTION: Reporters on energy, environment, social and economic justice, Marcellus Shale gas drilling, Pennsylvania politics

What: Protectors Plan Nonviolent Action to Prevent Further Water Withdrawal Permits for Fracking in the Susquehanna  River Basin

When: Thursday March 15th, 8:30 AM

Where: North Office Building, Hearing Room 1 (Ground Level), North Street (at Commonwealth Avenue) Harrisburg, PA 17120


  • The Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) plans to accelerate unconventional gas fracking in the Susquehanna River watershed, which provides drinking water to millions of people, by approving dozens of new permits for water withdrawals this Thursday, March 15th. The governors of the states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York, along with President Obama, are each represented by a Commissioner; until now, all four Commissioners have voted to approve almost every water withdrawal for fracking which has come before them. 
  • The water withdrawals opposed by activists use the controversial new combination of technologies collectively referred to as “fracking,” or high-volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing with horizontal drilling. According to a growing number of engineers, health professionals, hydrogeologists, biochemists, and ecologists, the life cycle impacts of shale gas drilling are inherently unsafe for air, water, land (forests, farms and foodsheds), climate, animal and human health. 
  • A growing number of economists, including Janette Barth, PhD (NY) and Deborah Rogers, PhD (TX) say that the boom-bust cycle and the “bubblenomics” of shale gas drilling will be more destructive to our economy than the short-term gains. The small temporary economic benefits are the only argument FOR shale gas drilling, as methane has been shown to be as bad or worse than coal for climate. The intensive and extensive damage to groundwater, air, surface waters, climate, and land is not remediable and must be counted as an incalculable economic loss.
  • The Commission plans to approve water withdrawals on Thursday without any cumulative impact study in the Basin, and without a Health Impacts Assessment related to shale gas drilling in Pennsylvania. There are currently 12 environmental violations per day, on average at Marcellus Shale gas drilling well pads and associated infrastructure (frack pits, compressor stations, pipelines, gas separator plants) in Pennsylvania.  A cumulative impact study should take the escalating violations very seriously, but no such study has been undertaken. 
  • Many Pennsylvanians are reporting illnesses related to shale gas drilling, some of them severe; deaths have been reported due to chemical exposure from shale fracking in Western states.
  • This water use is consumptive; the water is withdrawn permanently from the hydrological cycle. Once chemically poisoned and injected deep underground, it stays underground or returns to the surface so toxic (called “flowback”) that it must be re-injected deep underground elsewhere, a costly process which has caused hundreds of small earthquakes (Arkansas, WVa, Ohio, TX).
  • At least ten organizations have called for a halt to water withdrawals for fracking in the Susquehanna River Basin. Sierra Club, Earthworks, Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, and Clean Water Action issued a joint public statement demanding “a halt to further water withdrawals for fracking in the Susquehanna River Basin until a comprehensive, Basin-wide assessment of impacts is conducted and Maryland and New York have decided whether to move forward with the industry.” These four organizations, while opposing the withdrawals, are not calling for active disruption of Thursday’s meeting. 
  • Municipal officials in Pennsylvania are angry about the pre-emption clause in HB1950, now law as Act 13 (the impact fee bill), which removes (pre-empts) their right to protect their residents from shale gas drilling through zoning and bans. Physicians and health workers are angry about the medical secrecy clause in Act 13, which violates medical ethics by requiring doctors to sign confidentiality agreements promising not to disclose what contaminants are involved when they are treating a patient made sick by gas drilling. These unjust laws must be reversed to protect public health, and no new permits should be issued under such extreme conditions of corporate control.

(Philadelphia) While large environmental groups across Pennsylvania call for a moratorium on water withdrawals to be used for fracking in the vital Susquehanna River watershed, a smaller handful of activists have expressed a willingness to nonviolently prevent the approval of dozens of water withdrawal permits at an SRBC hearing in Harrisburg this Thursday.

Advocates from across the state support the call to halt permitting water withdrawals in the Susquehanna River Basin. Organic farmer Stephen Cleghorn, PhD, of Reynoldsville, PA, commented, “The water withdrawals being voted on by the SRBC would enable the drilling of hundreds more wells in the Basin that put at risk of serious contamination a river system that supplies water to millions of people, as well as the critical Chesapeake Bay and all its life forms.” According to some estimates, Thursday’s vote represents enough water withdrawals for thousands more wells to be drilled and fracked.

Sarah Lowry, an organizer with Protecting Our Waters, said, To protect the Susquehanna River Basin, I am willing to exercise my First Amendment rights and stand up for what I believe in. This industry, which is carelessly and greedily attacking the earth around us and underneath us, polluting our water and air beyond repair, needs to know that we will fight to stop this irresponsible drilling, extraction, and use of a dead-end fossil fuel. I feel they have left us no choice but to defend ourselves and the earth.” Lowry added, “I don’t feel like I’m fighting SRBC, and I don’t want to antagonize the Commissioners,” she added, “but they’re not protecting the Susquehanna River Basin from the acute and long-range impacts of gas drilling, fracking, processing and use. They’re not doing their job, so it’s our job now.”

Advocates see the vote as illegitimate, since Commissioners have failed to undertake or complete a cumulative impact study in the Susquehanna River Basin regarding the full life-cycle impacts of unconventional gas drilling, and appear to be ignoring public testimony opposing the acceleration and intensifying of fracking in the Basin made possible by these enormous water withdrawals.

Stephen Cleghorn asserts, “I sympathize with my friends living in the Basin. When the government acts to legally steal the common wealth of Pennsylvania for the private gain of corporations, then civil disobedience becomes a necessary corrective of the injustice being perpetrated upon the people and their living environment. On Thursday, wherever we live in Pennsylvania, we all live in the Basin.” Cleghorn’s farm is just over the western edge of the Susquehanna River Basin, in the Ohio River Basin. Lowry lives in the Delaware River Basin.

Some of those hoping to prevent the water withdrawals’ approval on Thursday have stated that they do so out of the motivation to protect human and animal health, as well as to protect current and future generations from known toxic impacts to air, water, land, climate, and long-term damage to the PA economy. Others have focused on rural Pennsylvanians’ rights: loss of property values, violation of rural residents’ access to safe water, threats to farms, and the wholesale destruction of a way of life which has included abundant wildlife and rural beauty. Some include “all of the above” in their motivation.

Deirdre Lally, who lives in the Susquehanna River Basin, said that as a public health worker and as a member of a family who leased their land, she is highly motivated to take preventive action. “I wish no disrespect to the SRBC; I’m sure the staff consists of dedicated professionals,” she said. “But unfortunately a ‘yes’ vote on these water withdrawals for fracking would mean the Commissioners have devalued human health and committed an act which will deprive Pennsylvanians of clean air, clean water, good health, and the public right to know which chemicals are poisoning us. We must not allow this illegitimate vote to proceed. Like physicians, we are dedicated to an ethic that says: ‘First, Do No Harm.’”

Contact: Iris Marie Bloom

Protecting Our Waters

More information:



March 12, 2012

From our Friends at Protecting Our Waters:

Please mark your calendars for March 15th, when the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) meets in Harrisburg to vote on upwards of 60 water withdrawals (many billions of gallons over four years) for fracking. The written comment period is closed, but it is now time to call the MD, PA, and NY governors, and the Obama Administration, to urge “no new permits” for water withdrawals for fracking in the Susquehanna Basin. SRBC should not even consider one permit without a cumulative impact study, let alone approving hundreds of permits for billions of gallons of consumptive water use for fracking.If you would like to attend the meeting in Harrisburg, here are the specifics:

What: SRBC Meeting
When: Thursday, March 15, 2012, 8:30 AM
Where: North Office Building, Hearing Room 1 (Ground Level), North Street (at Commonwealth Avenue) Harrisburg, Pa. 17120
POW’s Greater Philly Trainpool / Carpool Coordinator: Sarah Lowry,, (201) 214-2580


WHEN:  6:00 TO 9:00 PM.

WHERE: Harrisburg Friends Meeting

1100 N 6th St, Harrisburg, PA 17102-1403
See Facebook page here:

Urgent: Four Days, Four Phone Calls to Protect the Susquehanna

March 10, 2012

What: Call all four voting members of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) by Wednesday, March 14th at 5 pm!

The Ask: Urge the governors of MD, PA, NY and President Obama, through his Army Corps of Engineers Commissioner, to vote NO on any further permits to withdraw water for fracking in the Susquehanna River Basin. We stand united for a moratorium on water withdrawals.

Why: The SRBC plans to approve many billions of gallons of water withdrawals for fracking at their March 15th meeting, further accelerating the already rapid pace of high-volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing in the watershed. Surface and drinking water already contaminated by methane and toxic chemicals in multiple locations in the watershed has not been remediated (because it can’t be remediated). SRBC has not undertaken any cumulative impact study of fracking’s life cycle impacts on the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay, which is already in critical condition and can’t take any more abuse. Ninety percent of the water in the northern Chesapeake Bay comes from the Susquehanna River. Animal and human health is at risk, and the State of Pennsylvania doesn’t even have a mechanism for residents to report health impacts from fracking! When families’ water supplies are destroyed, they cannot even take care of their children and animals safely, let alone sell their homes. Finally, when the industry does settle a lawsuit and pay medical bills or buy devastated properties, they force a legal gag order of silence. An industry with this many toxic secrets to keep must be prevented from doing any further damage. The SRBC holds the reins for the Susquehanna River Basin, a gigantic and irreplaceable watershed. Call the Commissioners now.

Call-in Days: Please call any and all when you are able. To add zest, an alliance of grassroots groups has designated days:

MONDAY: MD Gov. O’Malley.  TUESDAY: President Obama and Army Corps of Engineers: WEDNESDAY: NY Gov. Cuomo.

PA Gov. Corbett: WHENEVER.

The Phone Numbers:  

Each Commissioner votes according to the Governor’s preference. For extra influence call both the Governor and the Commissioner. Please be respectful, patient, and extremely clear in delivering your message!!! You may have to explain a bit if you are one of the early callers. Thanks!

1. Maryland Governor Martin J. O’Malley (410) 974-3901 or (800) 811-8336

SRBC Commissioner: Dr. Robert M. Summers, Secretary, Maryland Department of the Environment (410) 537-3084


In writing: Governor O’Malley, State House, 100 State Circle, Annapolis,MD 21401 – 1925

2. New York Governor Cuomo (518) 474-8390 (9 – 5 a live person answers) or you may have better luck with (212) 681-4580

3. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett (717) 787-2500  (8:30 AM – 6 PM live person answers)

4. President Obama (202) 456-1111 

Obama’s SRBC Commissioner: Colonel Christopher Larsen, Commander, North Atlantic Division,

US Army Corps of Engineers: (347) 370-4501

Once you’ve called, please consider following up with an email or snail mail letter for greater impact, and encourage groups you are part of to call and write as well. Please consider educating each Commissioner about specific instances of water contamination associated with hydraulic fracturing, and consider telling them about the terrible impacts on animal and human health so far. They truly may not know.

A fraction of the water contamination cases within the Susquehanna River Basin so far includes the 17 families whose drinking water was contaminated by Chesapeake Energy in Bradford County; the families evacuated due to the Chesapeake blowout last April; at least 19 families with contaminated water in Dimock, PA; another 13 families in Susquehanna County including Susan Breese; and Sherry Vargson, whose experience was summarized in the current Rolling StoneMagazine this way:

“I discovered I could light my water on fire,” she says. “And I still can.” To demonstrate, she walks over to the faucet in her kitchen, lights a match and turns on the faucet. Whoosh! A flame shoots out like a blowtorch.

Vargson stopped drinking the water after she discovered the methane – but tests showed that her water also contained elevated levels of toxic chemicals like radium, manganese and strontium. Chesapeake agreed to supply Vargson with fresh drinking water, delivered to her door in five-gallon jugs once a month, but it denies any responsibility for the elevated methane levels. Tom Darrah, a Duke geologist who has examined Vargson’s well for a new study, finds that difficult to square with the facts. “Anyone who has seen the data I have and thinks this much methane in her well is from natural sources has their head in the sand,” he says.

If you’d like to read expert comments and share them with the Governors, President Obama, and their respective Commissioners, here is a link to expert arguments including a stream ecologist and hydrogeologist Paul Rubin. Delaware Riverkeeper Network.submitted these comments to New York regarding their statewide Environmental Impact Study; they are equally and directly relevant to the SRBC process, since SRBC has similarly not performed any cumulative study of the impact from these withdrawals, which are permanently lost due to consumptive use (injected underground after being poisoned with chemicals, most of the water stays underground and what returns to the surface is “flowback,” even more poisoned with heavy metals, radioactive materials, and volatile organic chemicals / hydrocarbons, as well as toxic levels of salt and the chemical additives used in fracking).

In addition to a broad network of smaller grassroots organizations, including Protecting Our Waters, now calling for a halt on any further permits for water withdrawals in the beautiful, vital and critically endangered Susquehanna River Basin, larger and longer-established organizations are weighing in strongly at this time:

Sierra Club, Earthworks, and Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper collectively concluded in February:

  • ·                            Given  all  the  detrimental  impacts  of  gas  development  on  the  environment  and   communities, Susquehanna River Basin Commissioners  need  to  take  action  and  stop  additional  permitting  and   other  actions  that  accelerate  shale  gas  development.
  • ·                            It  is  inappropriate  for  SRBC  to  authorize  more  water  withdrawal  permits  and   implement  new  shale  gas  regulations  without  first  performing  the  scientific  studies   necessary  to  ensure  that  decisionmaking  is  comprehensive  and  informed.
  • ·                            Read the full Sierra Club, Earthworks and Riverkeeper statement here
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