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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

Joel Wysong
2675 Agard Road
Trumansburg, NY
Sharon Lawless
1578 Houghtaling Hollow Rd
East Meredith, NY
Emily Clay
Honeoye Falls School
271 Mendon Ctr Rd
Honeoye Falls, NY
708b plymouth drive
lakewood, NJ
Ruth Van Dyke
1423 E Main St PMB 190
Cortez, CO
Nancy Hutto
10052 416th Ave SE
North Bend, WA
Gene Polito
45 Shady Rest Dr
Sag Harbor, NY
David Brown
72 Michigan Hollow Road
Spencer, New York
Philip Koons
Trout Unlimited
1107 N. Tioga St.
Ithaca, NY
Franz Sugarman
7221 Halseyville Rd.
Trumansburg , NY
Dennis Turechek
392 Hathaway Road
Otego, New York
Cheryl Frank
829 Winton Rd S
Rochester , NY
Judith Johnson
POBox 624
Croton on Hudson, NY
Laura Dodge
24 Dale Street
Providence, RI
james sherpa
302 giles
ithaca, ny
F. Robert Wesley
212 Hill Road
Ithaca, NY
Marsha Acerra
po box 881
Ithaca, NY
Mary Thorpe
1220 Langford Creek Road
Van Etten, NY
Connie Turner
408 Robin Lane
Vestal, NY
Cecilia Castelino
664 W 163 St #57
New York, NY
Cari Gardner
Executive Board Member
New York Progressive Action Network
44 Clarewood Drive
Hastings on Hudson, NY
Jennifer Lahey
1 Orchard Drive
South Salem, NY
Erica Baum
81 Grand Street #2
New York, NY
Nathan Richardson
Rep Studio
519 Willow Ave
Ithaca, NY
Kara Emmons
30 East Mayer Drive
Suffern, New York
Leslie Gold
40 Downing St
Mary Reader
129 Old Minisink Trail
Goshen, NY
Gary Hodges
920 Snyder Hill Rd.
Ithaca, New York
Chelsea Zantay
301 North Salem Road
Ridgefield, Connecticut
Joan Farber
400 West 23rd St
New York, NY
William Crum
2150 Wallace Ave Apt 5D
the Bronx, New YorkSE18 TOWER
Jean Cushman
247 Linden Avenue
Towson, MD
Lazarus Boutis
P.O. Box 222, 287 Flugertown Road
Livingston Manor, NY
Sita Sanders
10551 Turnpike Rd.
East Meredith, NY
Kim McIntosh
5342 Westminster Dr.
Austin, Texas
Cristian Graca
, NY
Tracy Schleyer
42 Antlers Dr
Rochester, NY
Julie Mundt
607 Broad St.
Endicott, NY
Bernie O'Doherty
607 Broad St.
Endicott, NY
Eric Mundt
100 Imperial Circle
Rochester, NY
Peter Mundt
P.O. Box 549
Brant Rock, MA
Cheryl Kindt
61 Prospect Avenue #4
Binghamton, NY
Diane MacInnes
Sanford-Oquaga Area Concerned Citizens
739 Oquaga Lake Road
Santa Fe, NM
annie campbell
33 Cayuga St.
Trumansburg, NY
4542 41st Street
SunnySide, NY
Elaine Sperbeck
618 e.monroe st
Little Falls, New York
Tara Sumner
Vice President
Advocates for Springfield
PO Box 302
Springfield Center, New York
Frankie DeMarco
241 Sixth Ave., #11C
New York, NY
Bill McCabe
81 Darren Rd.
LaGrangeville, New York
Melissa Bishop
Catskilll Citizens for Safe Energy
72 Elm St.
Deposit, NY