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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

Doris Chorny
PO Box 44
Gardiner, NY
Martin Jorgensen
1692 Ellis Hollow Rd. Apt 2
Ithaca, NY
Susan Hughes-Smith
453 Edgewood Ave
Rochester, NEW YORK
Geraldo Castro
Deputy Village Administrator
Village of Lawrence
196 Central Ave
Lawrence, NY
Elizabeth Sanders
Cornell University
16 The Byway
Ithaca, NY
Nancy Lee
6003 SR 26
Whitney Point, New York
Barbara Usher, Ph.D.
144 Besemer Hill Rd
Ithaca, NY
Audrey David
10 Stewart Place
White Plains, NY
althea farrell
425 1st Street
New Orleans, LA
3370 Woodbridge Circle
Bethlehem, PA
Kevin Mayer
47 Cobb St
Groton, NY
Edward Price
31 Walters Ave
Cold Spring Harbor , NY
Amanda Means
Orange RAPP
5 Hanna Lane, #5
Beacon, NY
Erica Hart
93 William Brown Rd.
Hankins, NY
Gretchen Herrmann
433 Bostwick Road
Ithaca, New York
Eileen Gottschalk
Mrs and Mr
3305 Walnut Pl NW
Salem, OR
Julia Walsh
705 Henry Williams Rd
Roxbury, NY
Robert Seeley
PAUSE (Newfield)
85 Starks Road
Newfeld, NY
Kathleen Wilcox
307 First St.
Ithaca, New York
William Turechek
392 Hathaway Road
Otego, NY
Cassandra Kirk
183 S Snedecor Ave
Bayport, NY
Karl Wokan
1952 Glenwood rd
Vestal, NY
Betsy Wohl
958 Tallow Hill Road
Spencer, NY
Elizabeth Watts
16 Starks Place
Lynbrook, NY
Richard Andrews
2663 Slaterville Rd
Slaterville Springs, NY
Wanda Zinski
Mallory Road
Sauquoit, New York
Seth Marks
5105 State Rt. 224
Odessa, NY
judith ackerman
636 wea
nyc, ny
Paula Clair
Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE)
162 Gallows Hill Road
Garrison , New York
Julia Morgan
234 Rachel Carson Way
Ithaca, NY
Brian Dalton
4197 Syracuse st.
Dearborn Heights, MI
Marianne Krieg
614 S Plain St
Ithaca, NY
J D Burton
3058 Slaterville Rd
Brooktondale, New York
Dan Flerlage
881 bostwick road
ithaca, New York
I Peress
110 Carter Creek Rd
Newfield, NY
Jeannine Laverty
Easton Monthly Meeting of Friends
115 Lawrence St
Saratoga Springs , NY
Daniel Belliveau
95 Lafayette Ave
Geneva, New York
Aaron Phipps
, NY
Janet Kaido
5141 Hazel Ave.
Philadelphia, PA
Rose Mackiewicz
1773 Teedlebrook Roadd
Jefferson, New York
A. Lindsay Groves
Principal Cellist
PO Box 930
Skaneatrles, NY
Patricia White
7409 LoganRoad
Canandaigua , NY
Scott Fisher
475 E Broad St Apt 10A
Rochester, NY
Gail Musante
199 Front Street
Deposit, NY
Gail Goldsmith
Eric Feinstein
214 Van Ostrand Road
Newfield, NY
Paul Ferrazzi
Executive Director
Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community
4209 Jackson Avenue
Culver City, CA
Theresa Jodz
410 Thomas Road
Ithaca, NY
Tonia Simon
1337 Afton Lake Road
Afton, NY
Elizabeth Kuney
226 Milburn Drive
Syracuse, NY