Philadelphia, September 21, 2012 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter delivered the following remarks earlier today at the Shale Gas Insight Conference 2012, hosted by the Marcellus Shale Coalition. Please check against delivery.
“Thank you, Kathryn Klaber, for the introduction.
Let me also thank Shari Williams for all of her hard work and assistance today.
Welcome to Philadelphia! I appreciate you choosing Philadelphia as the site of your important conference.
I hope you have been taking advantage of everything that Philadelphia has to offer, including respecting our great right of free speech. We have world famous museums, fantastic restaurants and beautiful parks. I encourage you to explore this city. It is expected to generate $5.5 million for the city.
This conference’s title is “Shale Insight,” so I’d like to offer a little insight on where Philadelphia and much of Southeastern Pennsylvania stands on Marcellus Shale and a variety of issues that it raises.
We recognize that there may be some short- and medium-term economic opportunities created for the region by the natural gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale.
President Obama is pursuing an “all of the above” energy strategy that includes the safe and responsible development of natural gas resources, which will mean more jobs in Pennsylvania.
But many of us are deeply concerned about natural gas drilling that could compromise river water quality in the Delaware River Watershed.
The watershed provides drinking water to tens of millions of people from New York to Delaware, including millions of people in Philadelphia and southeastern Pennsylvania.
And so let me state my core and concern value on this issue: there is no economic opportunity for which jeopardizing our water quality is acceptable.
I have yet to see progress from industry on the most important measures to build public confidence in your practices. Here’s what I’d like to see:
- That industry will fully fund its participation in the Delaware River Watershed Early Warning System to make notifications of accidents or other incidents.
- That industry will adequately and fully fund a forest restoration bond to ensure that decades from now when drilling ends, our forests can and will be restored to better than their current condition.
- And, if industry wants to earn the public’s trust, it will fully fund upstream environmental monitoring enhancements to demonstrate that shale activities are not—and will not—have impacts on the Delaware River Watershed.
Last, all the stakeholders need a process or framework so that the shale gas industry, environmental regulators and concerned stakeholders can discuss, monitor and evaluate the shale gas activities as they occur in the Delaware River Basin.
I believe that while a moratorium on drilling in the Delaware River Basin is in place, we all have a unique opportunity to establish the foundation of a strong framework to protect the environment and the drinking water of millions people in the Southeastern region of Pennsylvania.
Elected leaders and the public across the area are ready to engage with industry, but our trust must be earned. As every business knows, actions speak louder than words. I look forward to your “confidence building” actions.
Enjoy Philadelphia. Thank you.”