Appalachian Basin

Ruffalo Roughs Up the Facts

Mark Ruffalo, the actor and resident of Sullivan County, New York, which is part of our region, has decided to play natural gas policy expert in the pages of the Daily News.  Like his buddy, Josh Fox, whom he follows around like a puppy dog, Ruffalo plays loose with the facts.  He states the following, for example:

Last month, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman gave the Obama administration 30 days to commit to a full review of the health and safety impacts of a controversial method of gas drilling known as hydraulic-fracturing, or “fracking.” If the administration refuses to do that, the state will then sue the feds for failing to meet standards laid out in federal environmental law.

Perhaps Ruffalo should acquaint himself with reality (understandably difficult for an actor), starting with the fact the Delaware River Basin Commission is not a federal agency and, therefore, not subject to the National Environmental Protection Act requirement for an environmental impact study.  More on that subject can be found here, where it is noted:

Similarly, when Congress has ventured beyond merely granting consent to becoming a full compact participant, it has taken pains to disavow the resulting entity as an agency of the federal government. When the United States became a signatory to the Delaware River Basin Compact, section 15.1(m) was added to provide that the Delaware River Basin Commission “‘shall not be considered a Federal agency’ for purposes of certain statutes, among which is the Act of June 11, 1946, Pub. L. No. 404, 60 Stat. 237, as amended, which statute was the predecessor to the [federal] APA.” Delaware Water Emergency Group v. Hansler, 536 F. Supp. 26, 27 (E.D. Pa. 1981). The United States’s participation as a signatory to the Susquehanna River Basin Compact, likewise was conditioned on the understanding that: For the purposes of . . . the Administrative Procedure Act of June 11, 1946 (60 Stat. 237), as amended (5 U.S.C. 551-558, 701-706), the commission shall not be considered a Federal agency.” Pub. L. No. 91-575, § 2(l), 84 Stat. 1509(Dec. 24, 1970).

Somehow, we doubt Ruffalo spends much time reading the law or cares that much about it.  He and Josh Fox are too busy spinning yarns about flaming faucets being caused by hydraulic fracturing and pretending we can end our dependence on fossil fuels immediately with no other plan in mind.


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