The Delaware River Basin Commission announced Monday that one of three public hearings to discuss proposed changes to Water Quality Regulations will be held at Honesdale High School on Feb. 22.


The Delaware River Basin Commission announced Monday that one of three public hearings to discuss proposed changes to Water Quality Regulations will be held at Honesdale High School on Feb. 22.

The Damascus Citizens for Sustainability (DCS), along with 60 partner groups, said there should be many more opportunities for public debate.

“In order for large numbers of people to provide meaningful comment on the Commission’s draft regulations for gas extraction activities in the Delaware River Basin, particularly given the technical and policy issues involved, the public participation process must offer adequate time and diverse opportunities for broad public participation,” the organizations said in a joint statement.

The DRBC is accepting written public comment until March 16.

There will be two sessions at Honesdale High School Auditorium, located at 459 Terrace Street, Honesdale. One will begin at 1:30 p.m. and the other at 6 p.m. In order to be heard, those who wish to speak are asked to sign-up an hour before the hearing.

The letter, which urges the DRBC for a longer public comment period, states that the 90-day public comment period should be extended to a minimum of six months, in order to “facilitate robust public participation.”

“Ninety days, as currently proposed, is wholly inadequate, especially considering that the Christmas and New Years holidays occurred in the midst of that period,” the letter reads.

The organizations also ask that public hearings be heard in each Basin state, including Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Delaware. So far, there are only public hearings scheduled for Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey.

The letter also urges the DRBC to hold two hearings in the largest population centers in the Basin: Philadelphia and New York City.

The organizations also say that three hearings should be held in Pennsylvania: One in the Upper Delaware region, one in the center watershed region and one in the southeast corner.

The DRBC said the registration process will be on a first-come basis and it is estimated that approximately 75 people will have the opportunity to for two minutes during the allotted time period for each hearing session.

Speakers will also be able to supplement their testimony with written comment, which will be accepted on the day of the hearing.