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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

Faith Zerbe
Schuylkill Pipeline Awareness
379 Upland Way
Drexel Hill , PA
Tanya Wagner
5007 Apache Drive
Mechanicsburg, PA
Russell Donnelly
2114 Oak Road
Baltimore, Maryland
Arnold Talentino
38 Van Hoesen Street
Cortland, NY
Robby Diesu
National Coordinator
Stop the Frack Attack Advisory Council
2034 First ST NW
Washington , DC
Carol Stamboulis
320 north street
East aurora, NY
Mary Ann Demi
63 Overhill Road
Reedsville, pa
Sandra Folzer
209 Rex Ave.
Philadelphia, PA
jan milburn
mountain road
ligonier, PA
Marybeth Carlberg
FamilyCare Medical
783 Franklin St
Skaneateles, NY
714 Colonial Drive
Newark, New York
Sandra McFeaters
15 Woodlawn Drive
Latrobe, Pennsylvania
Martha & George Edwards
Ms. & Mr.
3111 Horseshoe Trail, Glenmoore, PA
Glenmoore, PA
Joel Chaffee
500 West 122nd St
New York, NY
Margaret Taylor
500 West 122nd St
New York, NY
Pat Halpen
3071 Shay Road
Naples, NY
Michael Randall
7031 River Road
Mount Morris, New York
Carrie Chalmers
313 S. Corn St. #2
Ithaca, NY
David Stout
354 Lakeside Rd
Angola, NY
Susan Rausch
63 Hammond Hill Rd.
Freeville, NY
Lesley Brill
1312 Joliet Place
Detroit, MI
B. Beth Cohen
1309 N. Cayuga St.
Ithaca, NY
Jerry Ravnitzky
124 Hill Street
Mahopac, New York
Malcolm Campbell
2014 Channing Way
Berkeley, CA
john ryan
87 sal bren rd
delhi, ny
Pam Jenkins
Physical Therapist
4023 Collegeview Dr
Cortland, New York
Christine Brunner
Peace Action/ Sierra Club
72 Wakefield St.
Keene, NH
Eileen Driscoll
125 valley view
Ithaca, Ny
cary fassler
398 st. rt. 69
Williamstown, NY
manuel rodriguez
1559 betts hill rd
delhi, ny
Nancy Reynolds
410 Central Park W # 10D
New York, New York
gayle gray
1854 ellis hollow rd
ithaca, ny
Daniel Taylor
Concerned Residents of Oxford
321 E 90 st
Lisa Brothwell
8584 Stanfield Rd.
Colden, NY
Felicia Murray
131 East 19th Street
New York, NY
Bruce Rosen
600 West End Avenue apt. 1A1
New York, NY
Kathie Arnold
3175 State Route 13
Truxton, New York
michelle scott
Lactation Consultant, and Nutritionist
Heathcare professional, IBCLC
632 Sand Pit Sand
Mason, NH
Dorothy Pomponio
Groton Resource Awareness Coalition
206 Elm Street
Groton, NY
Kaye Fissinger
2199 Creekside Drive
Longmont, Colorado
Ann Finneran
Chair, Water Issues Taskforce
Sierra Club, Atlantic Chapter
PO Box 143
Hurleyville, NY
Steve Ellsworth
Board member
Sustainable McDonough
850 Hammerle Rd.
Oxford, NY
Gail Flanery
1137 Hedgewood Lane
Niskayuna, NY
Anna Gibson
311 bailor Rd
Brooktondale, New York
Lynn Cahill-Hoy
4413 Lathrop Drive
Marcellus, NY
Luce Guanzini
87 West Hill Rd
Spencer, NY
Edythe Ann Quinn
Hartwick College
903 County Hwy 3
Unadilla, NY
David Mitchell
402 Esty Street
Ithaca, NY
John Back
7 Harder Road
Barryville, NY