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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

Toni Jean
1 Main Street
Lexington, MA
Beth Olearczyk, MD
87 Pioneer St.
Cooperstown, NY
Karen K Smith
68 Mary St.
Ithaca, NY
John McLaughlin
Quassaick Creek Watershed Allaince
1011 Maggie Road
Newburgh, NY
Trevor Southlea
111 breckenridge rd
mahopac, ny
Patricia Stein
115 Serenity Drive
Norwich, New York
Judy Burrill
357 Decker Hill Rd.
Newfield, NY
Robert Sawchuk
18B Guilford Ct.
Ridge, New York
Mary Beth OConnor
119 Middaugh Road
Brooktondale, NY
Lisa Valiente
237 Picardy Lane
Bolingbrook, Illinois
susan deane
126 Hooker Avenue
Roland Micklem
Green Geezers
300Churchville Ave. Apt. #10
Staunton, Va.
joseph kotula
stop frackng
franciscan mountain retreat
3621 roberts rd
westclarksville, NY
Elizabeth Lerner
200 Winegard Rd
Richmondville , NY
John Burke
MESEA (Maine)
74 Laurel Av
Sea Cliff, NY
Danielle Mericle
2022 Onyx street
Eugene , Oregon
Deborah Diehl
Ithaca, NY
Susan Daum, M.D
Environmental and Occupational Medicine
16 East 96th Street #5A
New York, NY
Tom Geilfuss
8700 N. point Dr.
Milwaukee, WI
Hank Stone
1880 Route 64
Ionia, New York
Sue Heavenrich
115 Hubbard Hill Rd
Candor, NY
Joyce Mosher
61 Wellington Rd.
Delmar, New York
Jacquelyn Clinton
1109 N. Cayuga Street
Ithaca, NY
Frank Gage
WNY Drilling Defense
87 Erb St.
Buffalo, NY
Steve Aman
2480 Arcadia Zurich Norris Rd.
Newark, NY
Jay Tamas
139 N. Sunset Dr.
Ithaca, NY
Mary Tamas
139 N. Sunset Dr.
Ithaca, NY
James Cyphers
5 conans run
ballston spa, NY
Kristy Vizzone
229 Osborne Avenue
Bay Head, NJ
HowardC Barker
PO Box 113
Smithville Flats, NY
Nancy Kasper
Earth Eden Sanctuary
9393 York Settlement Rd
North Rose, NEW YORK
Elsbette Grove
We are Seneca Lake
8035 Hampton Rd.
Wolcott, New York
Glenn Stein
Chenango Vision Center
5811 CO RTE 32
Alexei Tetenov
90 Roosevelt Rd
Rochester, NY
Alice Ross
377 Skipperene Rd
narrowsburg, New York
Mary Ann McDonough
65 Highland Avenue
Otisville, NY
Vicki Fox
67 Wodenethe Dr
beacon, NY
Dan Plummer
31725 Sea Level Dr
Malibu, CA
Aimee Arceo
77 Cheshire Lane
East Amherst, NY
Stephen Singer
445 Ferguson Rd
Freeville, New York
Penny Baron
445 Ferguson Rd
Freeville, NY
Tom Blecher
313 Utica Street
Ithaca, NY
Arthur Scott
Marist College
6 Andrea Dr
Poughkeepsie, NY
Zorika Henderson
7 Sunny Knoll
Ithaca, NY
David Stevenson
16 Elm Street
Chester, NY
Geraldine Aird
41 Ely Drive
Fayetteville, New York
Linda Griggs
147 Mosley Drive, Apt 2
Syracuse, NY
Shirley Rice
3467 South Hill Road
Burdett, New York
Michael Twomey
Ithaca College
16 John St.
Ithaca, NY 14850
Nancy Istock
41 Horizon Drive
Ithaca, NY