Appalachian Basin

Guest Post: An Outright Ban On Fracking in the Delaware is Way Overbroad

Daniel Markind is a partner at Weir & Partners, LLP in Philadelphia. Mr. Markind has almost 30 years experience as a real estate and corporate transactional attorney. Over the last 10 years, Mr. Markind has developed a sub-specialty in oil and gas development and leasing, and speaks widely on Marcellus Shale and other mineral extraction issues. He represents numerous companies and individuals involved in different capacities related to natural gas and oil leasing, production, transmission and waste disposal.

The following is Mr. Markind’s testimony to the Delaware River Basin Commission on draft regulations that include a ban on high volume hydraulic fracturing in the Delaware River Basin.

Good afternoon.  My name is Daniel Markind.  I’m an attorney here in Center City Philadelphia.  I do a lot of work in the energy industry and I write a lot about it.  I don’t come here as a representative of the energy industry and I have no loyalty to any one company.  I do, however, very much support hydraulic fracturing.

While it may surprise you, I agree with much of what most of you have said.  I believe there have to be setbacks and other regulation, and I do believe very much in protecting the watershed.  I think, however, that the outright ban is way overbroad, and I don’t think the DRBC has the legal authority to do it.  I know many of you are pleased with this power grab, as it fits what you think should be done, but you should be careful in what you want.  Next time, they may make a power grab that adversely affects something you are very much in favor of.

I fear the industry untrammeled, and there is definitely a place for government regulation.  But I fear government as well.  If you look at the worst environmental disasters in human history, they all have happened in places where the government controls everything.  Has anyone breathed the air in Beijing lately?  Have you heard about what used to be the Aral Sea in the former Soviet Union?

In our own country, you should check out what the government did to the Animas River in Colorado.  Do you know about the Oroville Dam north of Sacramento?  What would have been the greatest environmental disaster in our country’s history just missed happening, and it was at a place completely owned and controlled by government.

If the DRBC is so concerned about the possibility of spills into the River, why do they allow chemical plants right on it?  Just Google ‘chemical plants near Delaware River.’  You might be surprised what you find.

There’s been a lot of religious imagery here today, so here is some of my own.  Humans by their very nature are imperfect beings, therefore anything done by humans will be imperfect.  It’s easy to say you’re against something by just pointing to its adverse affects.  As a human being, you’ll accomplish nothing, but you’ll always be right.

I’m not impressed at all with people telling me what they’re against.  Tell me what you’re for – and don’t give me any broad generalities like ‘I’m for renewable energy.’  That means nothing.  What type of renewable energy?  How is it generated?  How is it stored?  How is it transmitted?  Trace it all the way through, and you’ll probably find that its environmental consequences may be even worse than shale drilling.”

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