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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

Leonne Gould
508 Washington Street
Hudson, New York
Carolyn Fellman
15 Park St.
Moravia, NY
Susan Andrews
2532 Beach Blvd S.
Gulfport, Florida
Jennifer Engel
The Cat's Pajamas, Inc.
927 Taughannock Blvd.
Ithaca, NY
Holly Anderson
Nasty Women
8008 35th Ave.
Jackson Heights, NY
Sandy Wraight
9 Redwood Lane
Ithaca, NY
Patricia Dinges
232 Hibernia Road, P.O. Box 240
Salt Point, NY
Melissa Tuckey
232 Rachel Carson Way
Ithaca, NY
Jean Locey
1735 Ellis Hollow Rd
Ithaca, NY
James Brown
717 North Ave
Syracuse, New York
Dennis Cook
8132 Creekview Drive
Bridgeport, NY
William Wakefield
P O Box 393
DeRuyter, NY
vinny aliperti
4760 west lake road
geneva, New York
Jay Hanas
Wright Salisbury
17 North St.
Lexington, Massachusetts
Penny Beebe
P. O. Box 102
Freeville, NY
John McClelland
139 School St.
Millerton, PA
John Cook
3355 Jones Ferry Lane
alpharetta, GA
Curt Dunnam
5244 Perry City Rd.
Trumansburg, NY
Ellen Weir
Otsego 2000
539 Christian hill road
Cooperstown , New york
Heather Davis
312 Blue Ridge Avenue
Front Royal, Virginia
Elizabeth Henderson
Peacework Farm and NOFA representative to the Agricultural Justice Project
2218 Welcher Road
Newark, NY
Nancy Vann
Safe Energy Rights Group, Inc.
201 Union Avenue
Peekskill, NY
Thomas Reyer
211 Gray Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Karen Cook
8132 Creekview Drive
Bridgeport, NY
ed haffmans
1212 N L Street
Lake Worth, FL
Stuartt Davis
111 Pleasant Hollow Rd.
Freeville, NY
Susan Sullivan
7878 State Route 52
Narrowsburg, NY
Cynthia Chase
Professor of English and Comparative Literature
Cornell University
909 Wyckoff Rd
Ithaca, NY
Ellen and Oskar Schmidt
8 Genung Circle
Ithaca, NY
Laura Nowack
28 South Main Street
Earlville, NY
Diane MacInnes
Sanford-Oquaga Area Concerned Citizens
739 Oquaga Lake Road
Deposit, New Mexico
Ann Swanson
Tech Dir/Prop Mgr
117 School St Mosherville/4201 Mass Ave NW
Millerton/Washington, PA/DC
Elisa Evett
298 Bald Hill Rd.
Brooktondale, New York
Emily Adams
Tompkins County Progressives
488 Valley Rd
Brooktondale, NY
Ross M. Horowitz
820 W King Rd.
Ithaca, New York, 14850
Laurie Shaver
147 Connecticut Hill Rd
Newfield , NY
leeny sack
Karen Keating-Secular
6361 99th Street
Rego Park, NY
Karen Morean
8006 Co. Rd. 153
Interlaken, NY
wayne wells
Cameron Committee for a Safe Environment (CCSE)
4304 Lewis Rd
Cameron Mills, NY
Taffy Williams
191 Westchester Avenue
Tuckahoe, NY
elaine jurumbo
205 e 78 st
new york, ny
Suzanne Johnson
529 Prospect Valley
Willseyville, NY
John Given
118 Lieb Rd.
South New Berlin, NY
jess youngquest
mill st
Lodi, NY
shannon mcSurely
1049 Coddington Rd. #2
Ithaca, New York
Cathy Caruth
108 Oak Hill Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Yevgenia Skorobogatov Gray
92 Cypress St
Rochester, NY
Grace Bergin
216 E.Scribner Ave.
Du Bois, PA