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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

Mark Kuney
226 Milburn Drive
Syracuse, NY
David DeVivo
15 New England Dr.
Rochester , New York
shyama orum
305 west 28 Street #16E
New York, NY
Camille Doucet
30 Marsh Rd
Ithaca, NY
Maryl Mendillo
2969 Rte 34B
Aurora, NY
Peter Saltonstall
King Ferry Winery Inc
403 Lake Rd
King Ferry, NY
Joanne Cipolla-Dennia
964 W.Dryden Rd
Freeville, NY
Patricia Vendryes
173 Main Street
Groton, NY
Lisa Lippitt
1 Brunner Holw
Cooperstown, NY
Josephine Girardin
27 Reilly Street
West Islip, NY
tanya marquette
149 forest glen rd
new paltz, new york
Frederick Bauman
106 Rupp Rd
Monticello, NY
Karen Butler
317 C. H. 40
Worcester, NY
Carol LaBorie
19 Lancashire Drive
Ithaca, NY
Helen Cotton
317 Savage Farm Drive
Ithaca, NY
Jonathan Titus
15 Maple Ave.
Fredonia, NY
Edward Kokkelenberg
214 Buttermilk Lane
Ithaca, New York
Tracy Basile
74 Revolutionary Road
Ossining, NY
William Barnett
40 Genung Circle
Ithaca, New York
Robert Heinemann
Retired. Former Clerk of Court, 1983 to 2011, E.D.N.Y.
5 Bancroft Road
Poughkeepsie, New York
Leatra Harper
Managing Director
FreshWater Accountability Project
PO Box 473
Grand Rapids, Ohio
Dorothy Gavrielides
1192 Lake Como Rd.
Cortland, NY
Gerald Wolfe
474 Snyder Hill Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Devin Henry
90 W University St
Alfred, New York
Ryan Clover-Owens
PO Box 174
Van Etten, NY
Betty Harris
6281 S Cedar St
Littleton, CO
Sandra Steubing
680 Central
Albany, NY
Irene Simmons
, California
Dale Madison
Professor Emeritus
1 Elmwood Drive
Apalachin, New York
Gerrit Crouse
member, American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS).
38 4th Avenue, Apt 2-N
John Cisne
27 N. Landon Road
Ithaca, NY
Doug Couchon
109 Foster aVENUE
Kyllikki Inman
110 Halcyon Hill
Ithaca, NY
Susan Lausell
14 Elder Drive
Morristown, NJ
Karen Diefenbach
48 McKeel Avenue
Tarrytown, NY
Randi Pokladnik
Fresh Water Accountability Project
86110 Tappan Highland Road
Uhrichsville, OHIO
Bridget McMaster
211 Third St.
Liverpool, NY
rachel philipson
210 Enfield Falls Rd
Ithaca, NY
Christine Bainbridge
1450 Mecklenburg Road
Ithaca, NY
Mary Stetz
locke, ny
Anthony Del Plato
3509 West Ave
Interlaken, NY
Michelle Lyon
1032 East Windsor Rd
Nineveh, NY
Nancy Medsker
67 Marsh Rd.
Ithaca , NY
Vinny Aliperti
4760 W Lake Rd
Geneva, New York
dennis rich
31 main street
west seneca, ny
Charley Bowman
Environmental Justice Task Force, WNY Peace Center
48 Sandelwood Dr
Getzville, NY
emily smith
76 Quaker HIll Drive
croton on hudson, new york
Audrey taylor
200 Woodbine
east Rochester, NY
Katie Fittipaldi
3 Sugarbush Lane
Pittsford, NY
Joan Sichterman
PO Box 870
Goshen, NY