Senator Ferlo Memo on Barging Frack Water


December 28, 2012

TO: Jim McCarville, Exec Dir,  Port of Pittsburgh Commission
Commission Members

Since a brief and unintended announcement and discussion at our recent Port of Pittsburgh Commission meeting in regards to the barging of frack water and materials along the Allegheny, Ohio, and Mon Rivers, there have been at least a couple of news reports where the Director has emphatically indicated his support for this new level of commerce.  I found it incredulous that private industry had already secured property and may have actually started this activity without any governmental approval or notification to the public, and that federal and state government agency leaders at the Board meeting seemed caught off guard.  I believe the Director should be free to speak his views to the media and general public, and it would be difficult to separate out his views and the perception that he speaks for the full Commission.

As a long time member of the Commission,  I have never felt that this was an issue up to this recent pronouncement.  However, given the controversial nature of barging frack fluid and the fact that it has not been studied or given any final review by regulatory agencies, let alone the broader public, I take great exception to the notion that the formal Commission is in support of this clearly dangerous practice that could adversely affect river quality,  commerce and the health of thousands of people.

I would respectfully request time on the next Commission agenda to allow a full discussion of this matter.  As an elected State Senator representing a three-county area that is located along the Allegheny and Kiski rivers who is concerned about various water treatment in-take valves located in these rivers, I do not support the barging of so-called frack water and its 100-plus known toxic chemicals and carcinogens.

I also think it fair and reasonable that the Director refrain from his public comments in support of barging frack fluids  for a brief time to allow some Commission discussion.  I would ask that the Commission consider conducting a public hearing to hear from all interest groups and the public on this matter, and that all testimony be forwarded to various regulatory agencies and public officials in the region for their consideration.

Senator Jim Ferlo

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