Newtown News Update

Welcome to March 29, 2018, issue of "Newtown News Update." The opinions expressed here are solely the personal opinions of John Mack and do not reflect the opinions of any other person or entity. If you are not a subscriber, please subscribe here. If you are a subscriber and do not wish to receive further updates, please use the "Unsubscribe" link at the bottom of this email.

Newtown Township Supports a Complete & Permanent Ban on Fracking and Related Activities

At a March 28, 2018, public meeting, the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors approved Resolution 2018-R-11, which calls upon the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) to “enact a complete and permanent ban on natural gas development and hydraulic fracturing and all related activities (including drilling, fracking, wastewater processing and discharges from and water withdrawals for drilling and fracking operations) throughout the basin.”

The DRBC is a federal/interstate government agency responsible for managing the water resources within the Delaware River Basin without regard to political boundaries. Although the Commission proposes to extend its ban on high volume hydraulic fracturing in hydrocarbon bearing rock formations within the Delaware River Basin, it also proposes rules to address the inter-basin transfer of water and wastewater related to hydraulic fracturing; i.e., it would allow such fracking-related activities.

The resolution includes 10 scientific citations to highlight the  “significant evidence that shale gas development, and its related operations which include all the phases of the fracking process … has adverse effects on public health, property interests, agriculture and on our air, water, and land.”

Board member Kyle Davis opposed the Resolution saying he doesn’t believe the Board “has done enough vetting of these citations to put our signatures on it. If we could take these citations out, I’m a definite ‘yes’ on this resolution,” Davis said.

Sharon Furlong, spokesperson for the Bucks Environmental Action Group and for Bucks County Sierra Club, in comments before the Board, spoke in support of the resolution and urged that it be passed with all the citations remaining. “They are there in order to allow people to go to the source material themselves and make up their own minds,” said Furlong. She also said, however, that “many of them are not readily accessible for people to understand.” She suggested that many have been properly vetted by the Wall Street Journal and other media (video clip of her comments).

Survey Respondents Concur

Survey Results. N=39. This is not a Newtown township approved survey.

In an online survey that I hosted, 67% of respondents favored the resolution, whereas 10% said do nothing. 15% thought that Newtown should pass an ordinance (law) banning fracking. A resolution just states a position or policy - it is not a law. See the chart above for a summary of responses

“Lawful and properly regulated Fracking has provided a huge boost to Pennsylvania’s economy and US’s energy independence!,” said one anonymous respondent. “Do it right and we all benefit!”

“People are generally against fracking but it's hard to determine what the ramifications of a change would be,” said Jan Filios, a resident of Newtown and a representative of Bucks Environmental Action.

The Newtown Resolution will be submitted as a comment posted online at the DRBC website, Citizens are also encouraged to submit their comments: simply state your objections to hydraulic fracking and all related activities. The deadline for comments is 5 p.m. March 30.

John Mack