Last March a movement started with the purpose of uniting landowners in the Upper Delaware River Basin, giving them a voice and encouraging them to stand up and protect their rights both as landowners and citizens. During that meeting at the Narrowburg Inn in March 2017 approximately 50 people came to hear about the lawsuit that the Wayne Land & Mineral Group had filed against the DRBC’s outrageous interpretation of their charter, causing a real taking of landowner’s rights in the basin. It became very evident that there was a need for a congealing organization that would give a voice to landowners throughout the Upper Delaware Basin. It is from these energetic and hardworking volunteers that the UDRBC association was formed and now exists.
A lot of work has been accomplished by our Board this past year. Our Board Members have engaged themselves timelessly and very generously. We held our meetings initially twice/month for the first four months, aggressively achieving our goals. These goals included; naming our association, creating our mission statement and logo, launching a very impressive website, starting a Facebook Page and a Twitter account. Once these goals were attained, we moved our meetings to monthly meetings and kept up the pace of developing action items and worked diligently to accomplish them.
One of the principle things we learned was that our politicians needed our support desperately. The opposing groups have certainly developed the ability to act as if they have the voice of the majority when, in fact, they generally are a small but very vocal and active minority. We have begun the process of effectively reaching out to our elected officials, supporting them strongly in their efforts to vigorously represent the rights of the landowners who are the vast majority of their constituents. It is our most important task to continually let our elected officials know that their actions on our behalf are very much appreciated, and we need to continue to build volume and support, especially through the Social Networks.
We also attended and spoke at the hearings, which were held by the DRBC concerning fracking in the Delaware River Basin. Our members spoke very well and touched on all the talking points that we felt were pertinent in light of the fact that three of the five DRB commissioners have already publicly announced that they were voting for a fracking ban regardless of the comments received from the public during the public comment period. This gives viability to the belief that these public comment meetings were a hoax, meaningless to the Governors of NY, PA, & NJ, a position which is outrageous and most unfortunate.
Earlier this year, the Board was approached by the Board of NWPOA to discuss the synergy of the two organizations and their possible merger. After a couple of meetings, an agreement was reached, and the UDRBC and NWPOA associations merged. This took place at Representative Fritz’s office in Honesdale with the media present. Bob Rutledge, President of NWPOA, became a board member of the UDRBC Association. I want to thank both organizations for accomplishing this great task.
We also met with Gubernatorial Candidate Scott Wagner at his office in Harrisburg. We expressed our concern regarding multiple issues impacting our membership, from the DRBC Fracking Ban to over regulation in PA concerning all aspects of commercial and farming activities. Later that day, we had the great opportunity to meet with Secretary McDonnell of the PA DEP and his senior staff. We were notified prior to the meeting with Secretary McDonnell that he would not be answering any of the questions we had forwarded to him concerning, primarily, the Fracking Ban in the DRB. We, instead, were able to make statements concerning the hypocrisy of the DRBC Fracking Ban and how unlawful and unfair it is to all landowners throughout Wayne and Pike Counties. The meeting lasted one hour and our comments were received in a very respectful and open manner by the Secretary and his staff.
We have made an unbelievable amount of progress in our first year, strengthening our relationships with our elected officials, which is crucial. I can’t thank Representative Jonathon Fritz, Senator Lisa Baker, and Congressman John Faso enough for all their hard work and their encouraging support of our organization and membership throughout the past year. We have a lot of work ahead of us, which I am excited and determined to undertake with such a great group of folks to work with on our own Board. On May 1st you will see our media release and invitation to register for our own first Natural Gas Exploration Seminar to be held at the Narrowsburg Inn on May 17, 2018. I encourage you to invite all like-minded folks to attend this important and timely event. Come meet and learn with other folks and assist us in reaching our goals.Sincerely,