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

Cesar Mills
September 14, 2017

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

Last week we heard good news from the Delaware River Basin Commission - the commission wanted to ban fracking in part of the basin. "I believe this resolution preserves water quality and water supply for the residents of the watershed, and will protect this precious resource for generations to come".

Delaware, Pennsylvania and NY voted in favor of the bill while the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers voted no.

"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". New Jersey abstained, and the federal government voted no. Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, stimulates gas production by injecting wells with high volumes of chemical-laced water in order to free-up pockets of natural gas below. Banning fracking but allowing the dumping of fracking waste undoes the whole goal of the ban in the first place, which is to protect our water.

The Pennsylvania chapter of the Marcellus shale coalition says with the ban Delaware River Basin fracking ban has already cost Pennsylvania billions of dollars of private capital investment, and mineral rights owners millions of dollars in lease and royalty payments.

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The Delaware River Basin Commission will consider setting in motion new regulations on hydraulic fracturing in the Delaware River and its watershed at its quarterly meeting Wednesday morning.

The Marcellus Shale Coalition, representing drillers, and the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry sent a letter to Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf asserting that given the volume of drilling elsewhere in Pennsylvania, "it defies both common sense and logic for the DRBC to conclude that natural gas development can not be done safely within its watershed".

Environmentalists initially cheered the ban, but soured Monday when the regulations were officially added to Wednesday's agenda.

"Interfering with Pennsylvania's effective, comprehensive program undermines a crucial source of income for both the state economy and individual families".

A final vote on a fracking ban in the "Delaware River Basin" isn't expected until sometime next year.

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