Over 90 people were in attendance at the Lookout Firehouse on May 2nd for the second annual spring seminar hosted by the Upper Delaware River Basin Citizens (UDRBC). The hall was filled with guest speakers, state and local officials, and citizens interested in protecting their rights as residents and landowners.
The first guest speaker was Brian Oram, a professional geologist and soil scientist for B.F. Environmental Consultants. He is also a Private Well Owner Educator at PACleanwater. Brian’s presentation was both entertaining and educational. His expertise covers well migration issues, natural gas, hydrogeology, carbon sequestering, brine water treatment, and water reuse. He spoke about the relationship between natural gas development and water quality. He said, “Most people think it has to be one or the other. I say it can be both!”
The next speaker was Pat Henderson of Marcellus Shale Coalition. His experience in the legislative and executive branches of the state government gives him insight into policy development and thus, perspective from both industry and policymakers. Pennsylvania already has a severance tax that is called an impact fee. So, don’t be fooled by anyone trying to say that PA does not have a severance tax.
The third speaker was Jeff Belardi, one of the attorneys representing the Wayne Land and Mineral Group with its lawsuit against the DRBC. He cautioned the group about the mission creep of the DRBC as it seeks to control any water use and has admitted that it feels it has more authority than DEP or EPA.
Senator Lisa Baker addressed the group. Her bill SB 305, which basically references eminent domain and a takings of landowner property, i.e. natural gas, is still in committee. Representative Jon Fritz addressed the group regarding his similar bill in the House, HB 827. That bill will be voted on Tuesday, May 7th. He called for support of his bill by contacting State Representatives ASAP and asking them to support this bill.
Other guests in attendance who addressed the crowd were Wayne County Commissioners Joe Adams and Brian Smith. Jim Barbour of Susquehanna Farm Bureau told how his county has benefitted from the gas industry there and that his wish for us in Wayne County is that we could share in his story.
A great luncheon was provided by Allyson courtesy of Narrowsburg Inn. The seminar was a great success and UDRBC is looking forward to an even larger turnout next year. The next event on the UDRBC calendar is the River Sweep on May 18th.