You are here

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

Charlene Dodge
Charlene A Dodge
Latham, NY
Peter Allen
82 Hunting Green Lane
Kent's Store, VA
Philip Khnopp
Founder / Facilitator
P.O. Box 610
Churchville, Virginia
Celia Barnes
5656 S. Roosevelt Rd
Stevensville, MI
Pamela deRoy
721 South Curtis Street, Apt. 333
Lake Geneva, WI
Gail Neelly
180 Protts Hill Road
Newfield, New York
Joan-Marie Bauman
106 Rupp Road
Monticello, NYMONIU
Juha Cantori
Wolcott, NY
Laura Barmack
Steering Committee
NYPAN, Bronx Progressives chapter
5615 Netherland Ave Apt 5D
Bronx, New York
Toby Stover
Founding Member
Rochester Defense Against Fracking
81 Clove Valley Road
High Falls, NY
Neill Clenaghan
8 Acre View Dr
Northport, NY
Don & Becky Kretschmann
former Twp. supervisor; former bd. member Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture
257 Zeigler Rd.
Rochester, PA
Joanne Corey
209 Lewis St
Vestal, NY
mark thompson
315 w walnut
kalamazoo, MI
scott sears
355 Pennsylvania Ave.
Trumansburg, New York
Barbara Chasin
129 Rachel Carson Way
Ithaca, NY
Jenny Lisak
Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air
, Pennsylvania
Mary Stewart
P.E.A.C.E. Clarion
Chestnut Ridge Drive
Clarion, PA
Rebecca Roter
Chairperson Co-Founder
Breathe Easy Susquehanna County
1258 Old Kings Bridge Road
Nicholson, GA
David LaVerne
844 Lincoln Street
DIckson City, Pennsylvania
Nolan Proctor
832 Spook Hollow Road
Cogan Station, PA
Ranjana Bhandari
Founder, Board Member
Liveable Arlington
903 Loch Lomond Dr
Arlington, Texas
Mike Kamandulis
Elk County C.A.R.E.S
101 Brown Road
Kersey, PA
Cathy Wallace
P.O. Box 140725
Irving, TX
Sharon Wilson
7734 Meadow Rd. #120
Dallas, TX
Ingrid Kelley
902 Belemeade St.
Arlington , TX
Lori Broughton
2426 Marlandwood Rd
Temple, Tx
Ann Jackson
9450 Oxford Dr.
Winter Haven, Florida
Barbara Koslowski
18 Renwick Heights Road
Ithaca, NY
Lisa Luborsky
1496 Wittenberg Rd
Mt Tremper , NY
Mark Kuebel
Licensed Acupuncturist
402 W. 148th St #42
New York, NY
michael frys
sierra club
conklin rd
conklin, ny
Sarah Peacock
149 Colonial Rd
Rochester, NY
Elsa Leviseur
122 Union Street
Hudson, NY
Karen & Philip Matsu
922 County Road 94
Fremont Center, NY
Deanna D Trujillo
327 n Santa Fe Trl
Bernalillo, NM
Patrice Cortese
343 Sheldon Road
Freeville, NY
Barbara Kane Lewis
702 Pat's Place
Ithaca, New York
Scott MacDonald
Professor of Cinema Studies, Hamilton College
5 Sherman St.
New Hartford, New York
Pamela Stanley
380 Riverside Drive
New York, NY
gretchen schulz
158 Weston Road
Rochester, NY
Mildred Gittinger
1197 S Cntry Clb Dr
Niskayuna, NY
Greg Pitts
219 Rachel Carson Way
Ithaca, NY
Jessica Evett-Miller
300 Bald Hill Road
Brooktondale, NY
Brandi Merolla
7824 Staet Route 52
Narrowsburg, NY
Douglas Kinney
63 River Street
Oneonta, New York
Corinna Lewis
36 German Cross Rd S3
Ithaca, NY
Debra Flanagan
1011 University Avenue #30
Rochester, NY
Vanessa Pesec
NEOGAP (Network for Oil and Gas Accountability and Protection)
11705 Cali Court
Concord, OH
john miller
professor emeritus
cornell university
298 bald hill road
brooktondale, NY