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Anya Tikka | Democrat

DRBC Deputy Executive Director Robert Tudor lives near the Delaware River in New Jersey.

Deputy Director talks

By Anya Tikka
LIBERTY — February 25, 2011 — Robert Tudor, DRBC deputy executive director, stressed the importance of public comments, saying that if the agency gets the anticipated thousands or possibly tens of thousands of letters and e-mails, the deadline will be extended.
“Of the river’s 200 miles, 150 are designated ‘Wild and Scenic,’” said Tudor. “We’d like to see it so 20 years from now.”
Tudor went on to explain the agency spent six to nine months developing the plan, and that it has very specific ideas concerning “wise stewardship.”
The horizontal drilling process goes very deep below the aquifers, in effect drilling through them, admitted Tudor.
“We are relying on the states on the well contracting,” he said when asked about the possible dangers associated with the process. He was referring to regulations being drafted by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.
Currently, the gas drilling industry is exempt from many environmental protection laws, including the Safe Water Act and the Superfund Act. Reports of dangerous chemicals have prompted fears about the health hazards and the danger of contaminating ground water.
Why is the DRBC issuing its new rules now, instead of waiting for the federal EPA study results?
“Based on the experience of states like Texas, Colorado, and Montana, we decided to go ahead with the ruling using the best possible info available,” said Tudor.
The state regulations concerning drilling take precedence over anything DRBC rules, he explained, so even when it issues its rules, if the state has a moratorium, no drilling can take place.
Tudor said he has seen the anti-drilling documentary movie “Gasland” by Josh Fox, noting that people have to make up their own minds about drilling.
When reminded that water is the number one scarce resource globally, the New Jersey resident, who lives near the Delaware, said, “I wouldn’t be in this industry, heading an organization like this, if I didn’t have the heart for the river.”
DRBC draft regulations have a three-part approach, Tudor went on to explain:
Water Withdrawal
Well Pads and Ancillary Infrastructure
Wastewater Disposal
The whole draft document is available at:
Tudor said the final approval of the regulations can be expected at the DRBC July or September meetings at the earliest..

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