The Honorable Patrick McDonnell
Department of Environmental Protection
Rachel Carson Office Building
P.O. Box 2063
Harrisburg, PA 17105-2063
August 28, 2018
Dear Secretary McDonnell,
We are writing to you to urge you to add hearings across Pennsylvania before any proposed revisions to the Environmental Justice Public Participation Policy are finalized.
We learned around 6 p.m. last evening that we would not be able to comment on the proposed revisions via phone during the public comment period of the Environmental Justice Advisory Board’s meeting in Williamsport today, contrary to what we’d been told on Friday afternoon. We were also told on Friday that there would be no hearings during your policy review. We find the lack of ability provided to Pennsylvanians to make verbal comments to be unacceptable. This is, after all, a public participation process about revised changes to the Environmental Justice public participation process. If the agency is truly interested in including the voices of those in environmental justice communities, then it should provide a range of options for people to participate.
Our intention was to comment during the meeting on your omission of shale gas development from the proposed revisions. Those revisions automatically cut out the voices of so many Pennsylvanians who are profoundly impacted by drilling, fracking, pipelines, compressor stations, and the myriad other activities that surround shale gas development. We know we are echoing a concern raised by many during every one of the listening sessions held last year.
Justice is not done when the voices of Pennsylvanians are silenced by the government in place to represent their best interests.
Karen Feridun, Founding Member, Better Path Coalition
Sam Bernhardt, Pennsylvania Director, Food & Water Watch
Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network