Time to Set the DRBC Adrift without a Paddle
Wayne County Landowners and NWPOA Members
We both read an article yesterday on Philly.com highlighting how financial woes are shaking up the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) and putting its future in doubt. Frankly, neither of us were surprised. It seems Pennsylvania has no other choice but to withhold funding to the DRBC as a way to resolve the natural gas regulation hiatus they are forcing. An argument can be made that blame for this lies on Carol Collier, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, Delaware Governor Jack Markell and unyielding environmental groups such as the Delaware Riverkeeper that have taken the media hostage.
Carol Collier has shown a lack of leadership and insensitivity to any, and all, landowner concerns and rights. First, her agency took nearly four years to develop a set of draft regulations. Now, it has been close to four months since the vote was cancelled and the only communication on this subject is on the DRBC website, which says “new date still to be determined,” That message, until last week, had been there since November 20, 2011. The Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance (NWPOA) sent a letter through our attorney in January and that, too, has gone unanswered. Worse, there is nothing on the DRBC agenda for tomorrow’s stated meeting (3/7/12).
What kind of election year game is this ? Will somebody please call for a vote already! The vast majority of the general population is in favor of moving forward responsible exploration in the basin. We have been patiently waiting for permits since 2008. This “death by 1,000 delays” will cost the taxpayer in the end if our rights continue to be egregiously violated. This will come in the form of legal action and a lack of economic activity. We are already being punished with the latter and it’s one of the reasons there’s not enough money to pay for frills such as the DRBC. Governor Cuomo and Governor Markel also deserve to be called on the carpet for their lack of leadership. Simply because New York wants to take forever, shouldn’t mean the rest of us have to wait as well, and if Governor Markell doesn’t understand geography that’s not our problem either.
It’s time these regulations were finished – well past time. Pennsylvania has paid in too much for too long. The DRBC is touted as a ‘model agency.’ But, we know that it is, and has been, far overstepping its bounds and trying to exert far more power than it should have for too long. Now, by refusing to vote on the regulations, it has instituted an all out ban on natural gas development. It has not done so in so many words, but the effect is obvious from our viewpoint and deliberate from theirs. New Jersey and Delaware should get on the wagon and hold their payments, too.
The numbers tell the story–when 80% of the budget is for payroll, then all we are doing right now is paying the DRBC to stay the course. It is time for the course to change. We believe Governor Corbett is doing the right thing. If the state budget needs cutting, here is one way to do it. It is high time for bureaucrats to have to operate the way the rest of us do -carefully. Given the present scenario, there is only one way for the DRBC to continue to exist, and that is by cutting payroll, and that will have to come about by reducing staff, as I am certain that none of them would agree to a cut in pay. The politicians at all levels, particularly the presidential candidates, all seem to be calling for smaller, more efficient, and less intrusive government, so let’s have it, beginning with DRBC!
Yeah, right. We can start by sunsetting the DRBC, doing away with duplication of efforts already well handled by individual states, eliminating a useless, illegal, and unconstitutional ban on energy development, and allowing the tax paying citizens, either individually or collectively, to make use of their property rights as they see fit, to the ultimate good of the landowner, the community and the country as a whole. It’s time to write another letter. Let’s not let the DRBC suffer. Let’s put it out of its pain now, and send it ‘down the river.’