Delaware River Basin Commission to consider fracking ban

Delaware River Basin Commission to consider fracking ban”

A regulatory commission that oversees water quality in the Delaware River and its tributaries is set to consider a permanent ban on natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

The NRDC's Rob Friedman and Kimberly Ong note that by allowing processing and disposal of wastewater as well as water withdrawal, the proposed rulemaking "would be a step backwards from the existing moratorium, which protects against all of these activities".

Despite that request, Tracy Carluccio of the Delaware River Keeper Network.

NY adopted a fracking ban in 2015. The commission needs to not only implement this ban but to be sure not to turn the basin into a dumping ground for fracking waste water.

This is a dirty water deal hidden behind a fracking ban. "I have supported this resolution since I was a candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania, and I am proud that we have worked collaboratively to move this process forward after nearly a decade of work at the DRBC".

Group at DRBC meeting
Community members rally outside of the DRBC meeting this past summer. Rob Friedman

The Delaware watershed supplies Philadelphia and half of New York City with drinking water.

Delaware River Basin Commission director Steven Tambini stresses this vote is simply to begin drafting rules with a November 30 deadline.

The DRBC resolution comes after Congressional passage last December of the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act. Instead, representatives of the commission's five members - Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, New York and the federal government - will vote on whether to begin a rule-making process. This action effectively placed a de facto, temporary moratorium on drilling for natural gas in several Pennsylvania counties and parts of southern NY.

At its meeting Wednesday, the DRBC passed a resolution that directing the basin's director to come up with revised regulations for drilling. "With this resolution, the DRBC is poised to roll back the high level of protection from drilling and fracking for shale our watershed now enjoys".

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