The End of Fracking, Natural Gas Drilling in Delaware River Basin?

Delaware River Basin Commission considers fracking ban

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According to the DRBC, the proposed rulemaking process that would lead to a permanent fracking ban is the result of the commission's close following of the "the evolving scientific literature on the impacts of natural gas development on water resources" which indicates that "the combination of hydraulic fracturing with horizontal drilling and related activities for extracting natural gas from tight shale formations presents risks, vulnerabilities and impacts to surface and ground water resources across the country".

The region also includes about 60 percent of New York City's reservoir system west of the Hudson, which provides most drinking water used by over 9 million people in the city.

The DRBC oversees the Delaware River Watershed, in four states: New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

SNJ Today is a Southern New Jersey news and information source that is dedicated to providing current stories related specifically to South Jersey. Banning fracking but allowing the dumping of fracking waste undoes the whole objective of the ban in the first place, which is to protect our water. New Jersey's representative abstained and the federal government representative voted "no", drawing lusty boos from a strongly anti-fracking crowd attending the meeting outside Philadelphia. Delaware's representative, Kara Coats, likewise expressed support.

"The frackers get our clean water and we get a Superfund site back".

"You don't know what the rules are going to say yet, so take it easy", he said.

Tambini says the final rules would not be voted on until well into next year. More than 10,000 Marcellus wells have been drilled in other parts of Pennsylvania since a natural gas boom began almost 10 years ago, but the industry has been prevented from developing its acreage in the DE watershed.

Wolf's office said the resolution calls for "promulgating regulations that would prohibit any water project in the Delaware River Basin proposed for developing oil and gas resources by high-volume hydraulic fracturing". Its agenda includes a measure that would begin the lengthy process of enacting a formal ban on drilling and fracking, the technique that's spurred a USA production boom in shale gas and oil.

Delaware River Basin Commission director Steven Tambini stresses this vote is simply to begin drafting rules with a November 30 deadline. Its environmental and health impacts remain hotly disputed.

The commissioners will consider changes to the revised draft regulations that may be appropriate based on the comments received.

In a joint letter Tuesday, the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) and the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry (PCBI) urged Wolf to reject the DRBC's resolution.

"Given the comprehensive regulatory scheme already in place in Pennsylvania, and the scientific analysis borne of over a decade of natural gas development within the commonwealth, it defies both common sense and logic for the DRBC to conclude that natural gas development can not be done safely within its watershed when Pennsylvania has a proven track record of doing exactly that", wrote MSC President David Spigelmyer and PCBI CEO Gene Barr.

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