Anti-drilling protestors, who often behave badly at public meetings by booing and shouting down those who attempt to speak in support of drilling, did just that at a recent meeting of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission held in Wilkes-Barre. Their temper tantrums caused the hearing to be rushed and ended early, and now they want a do-over.
A consortium of conservation and environmental groups sent a letter Thursday to the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, asking to reconvene and complete the Dec. 15 meeting, which was held at the East Mountain Inn outside Wilkes-Barre.
Andrew Dehoff, the commission’s Manager of Project Review was partway through his recommendations for water withdrawal approvals, including for natural gas drilling, when booing and chanting by members of the public compelled commission Chairwoman Kelly Heffner to quickly adopt Dehoff’s recommendations and adjourn the meeting early.
The commission has been notified that its actions on Dec. 15 were done so "off the record," and are therefore not legally binding, according to a release sent by Thomas Au, Pennsylvania Sierra Club conservation chairman; Marcellus Shale Regional Organizer Nadia Steinzor and Liz Garland Deardorff, director of the American Rivers Pennsylvania Clean Water Program.
They state members of the public who were not involved in the disruptions were denied their right to present testimony on Marcellus natural gas drilling water withdrawal applications due to the premature end of the meeting.
Perhaps next time there’s a public meeting, those who oppose drilling can behave like adults?
*Wilkes-Barre The Citizens’ Voice (Dec 23, 2011) – Conservation officials seek resumption of hearing