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Request that President Obama Fulfill His 2012 State of the Union Pledge Not to Put the "health and safety" of Americans "at risk" From Shale Fracking Pollution by Banning Improper Oil and Natural Gas Wastewater Disposal

December 20, 2016

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

We, the undersigned, respectfully request that you fulfill your 2012 State of the Union pledge not to put the "health and safety" of Americans "at risk" from shale fracking pollution hazards. Before leaving office on January 20, 2017, we ask that you ban five types of improper oil and natural gas wastewater disposal that have caused well-documented contamination problems in many states:

1. Deep-well injection which can pollute underground drinking water sources and cause earthquakes as reported in Ohio, Oklahoma and other states;

2. Agricultural crop irrigation and livestock watering west of the 98th Meridian West with wastewater containing up to 35 parts per million of potentially toxic oil/grease pollutants;

3. Landspreading for de-icing, dust control and roadbed stabilization which can contaminate soils and surface waters;

4. "Recycling" of contaminated wastewater for fracking purposes that can pollute underground drinking water sources; and

5. Dumping into recharge and evaporation pits, ponds and lagoons which can cause widespread pollution hazards.

Please Fulfill Your 2012 State of the Union Public Health Protection Promise Without Further Delay

In your 2012 State of the Union Address, you specifically promised:

"We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly one hundred years, and my Administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy (emphasis added). Experts believe this will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade. And I’m requiring all companies that drill for gas on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use. America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk (emphasis added)."

See paragraph 52: Remarks by the President in State of the Union Address | whitehouse ...

With all due respect, you have yet to fulfill this promise.

Shale Fracking in America

Shale fracking is the most controversial, environmentally devastating and least regulated oil and gas extraction technique in America. Due to fracking, America became the biggest producer of oil and natural gas in the world as scientific studies further documented that fossil fuels contribute to global climate change.

Fracking typically pumps millions of gallons of highly pressurized water into wells drilled horizontally through shale formations. This process cracks the rock and releases oil and natural gas contained in tiny pores. Fracking a single shale well generates huge quantities of highly toxic "flowback" and "produced" wastewater.

Fracking and conventional oil and gas extraction wastewaters are contaminated with toxic metals, radioactive elements, dissolved solids and organic chemicals, including benzene, naphthalene, xylene, toluene, tetrachloroethylene, barium, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, sodium, radium-226 and radium-228.

See: Unconventional Oil And Gas Extraction Wastewater Volumes And Characteristics

Fracking wastewater disposal has caused unprecedented contamination problems across the country. Improper toxic-polluting oil and gas extraction wastewater disposal practices have the potential to cause irreparable harm to public health and the environment in more than half the states in the nation.

See: Fracking oil and gas extraction maps for PA, OH, CO, MI, OK and CA.

See: Toxics Targeting's Data Compilation of Natural Gas and Oil Extraction/Fossil Fuel Infrastructure Pollution Hazards

Unprecedented Fracking Wastewater Pollution Hazards

During the early days of the U.S. shale fracking boom in 2008, fracking wastewater was discharged into Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs) in western Pennsylvania which were neither designed, constructed nor maintained to break down or remove toxic pollutants and dissolved solids in the wastewater.

The pollutants "passed through" into the Monongahela River. As a result, 850,000 residents near Pittsburgh could not drink water drawn from that waterbody during the biggest drinking water pollution crisis in U.S. history.

See: 2008 Shale Fracking Monongahela River Drinking Water Crisis

New EPA Ban on Fracking Wastewater Dumping in POTWs

Disclosure of the Monongahela incident prompted the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency to initiate a regulatory proceeding which imposed a nationwide ban on fracking wastewater dumping into POTWs on 6/28/16.

See: Final rule: Federal Register Notice (PDF)

EPA Authority to Regulate Fracking and Conventional Petroleum Extraction Wastewater Disposal

EPA has broad authority to regulate improper conventional and fracking wastewater disposal pursuant to the U. S. Safe Drinking Water Act and the U. S. Clean Water Act, but has failed to do so on a comprehensive basis.

EPA's POTW fracking wastewater ban sets a critical precedent for safeguarding public health and the environment from toxic-polluting oil and gas extraction wastewater disposal practices that should have been banned decades ago.


Mr. President, with all respect, your pro-fracking policies will help perpetuate America's addiction to natural gas and oil for decades to come. You will surely be judged on the wisdom of that fateful decision.

It would be irresponsible of you, however, to end your term of office without resolving the inadequate regulation of natural gas and oil extraction wastewater disposal that is causing irreparable contamination threats to public health all over the nation. We respectfully request that you take swift action in the coming days to fulfill your 2012 State of the Union pledge.
Thank you for your consideration and for your public service.

Very truly yours,

Total Signatory Count: 539

Walter Hang
215 N. Cayuga St
Ithaca, NY
Loretta Neuhaus
261-11 West St
Mount Kisco, NY
Sharon Heller
332 Butternut Dr
Newfield, NY
James-Henry Holland
Associate Professor
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Asian Studies, Hobart College, 300 Pulteney St.
Geneva, NY
Sean Zigmund
Root 'N Roost Farm
64 Mineral Springs Rd
Livingston Manor, NY
Carol Hockett
200 E. Upland Rd
Ithaca , NY
Katherine Luz Herrera
116 Utica St.
Ithaca, New York
M.Sharon Gambocorto
7626-7 Highbridge Rd.
Manlius, N.Y.
John Bisgrove
PO box 457
Auburn, NY
Melanie Mahoney Stopyra
109 Thurber St.
Syracuse, New York
William Sharfman
50 Riverside Drive
New York, NY
Steven Handwerker
CEO, Founder
103 So Beach Rd
SOUTH Burlington, VT
Cheryl DeVine
TriStates Unite for Safe Energy & Sustainable Warwick
26 Onderdonk Rd.
Warwick, NY
Thomas Ricketson
66 Vanbuskirk Gulf Road
Newfield, New York
Milene Morfei
Professor of PsychologyN
PO Box 384
Aurora, NY
Jacob Garniez
Ann Wexler
220 Pearl St
Ithaca, NY
Nancy Sharpe
216 6th St
Liverpool, New York
Alice Saltonstall
409 Hanshaw Rd
Ithaca, NY
Pat Duquette
Smith Pond Rd
Avoca, NY
Marilyn Gold
101 Oak st
Brooklyn, NY
David Ethridge
Citizen of the United States of America
215 Bryant Ave
Ithaca, New York
Michelle Wright
PO Box 1018
Trumansburg, New York
John Claus
Professor Emeritus
Ithaca College
632 Bostwick Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Stephanie McMahon
Associate Professor
6405 Palmiter Rd.
Alfred Station, NY
Paul Eichten
1400 Euclid Ave.
Syracuse, NY
Nicholas Prychodko
PO Box 2138
Bridgehampton, New York
Nancy Lipshitz
321 Oquaga Lake Road
Deposit, NY
Maude Rith
540 Main St.
Etna, NY
Donald Mintz
Professor emeritus
Montclair State University
29 Whig Street
Trumansburg, NY
Megan Johnston
916 Hector Street
Ithaca, NY
John and Martha Stoltenberg
N8362 State Highway 67, P.O. Box 596
Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
Brock Gibian
260 Moore St. #205
Brooklyn, NY
Olivia Vent
194 East Miller Road
Ithaca, NY
Mary Raven
ECHO action
9 Four winds rd.
Merrimack, NH
obie hunt
1150 grand concourse
bronx, new york
Anna Engdahl
894County Rd 94
Hankins, *State
Jill Lewis
concerned citizen
705 Villaggio Drive
Greenville, SC
Rita Kuzma
SUNY at Brockport
6912 Byron-Holley Rd
Byron, New York
Kenneth Ellis
National Writers Union/Tioga Peace and Justice
2130 Long Creek Road
Apalachin, NY
Scott Boyd
561 Peak Road
Stone Ridge, NY
Ronald Lytel
87 pioneer st
Cooperstown, Ny
James W Prescott, Ph.D.
BioBehavioral Systems
1140-23 Savannah Rd
Lewes, DE
Susan Sarabasha
Toxics Targeting
311 Tupper Rd
W Danby, NY
Cherry Rahn
16 Jay St
Geneva, NY
Cindi Girard
3500 Watson Blvd.
Endwell, New York
Karen Sorensen
388 11th Street
Brooklyn, NY
David Clemens
P.O.Box 276
Milton, PA.
Laura Neiman
60 Seaman Ave