Possible drilling ban

Could be big developments with natural gas drilling

PRESTON TOWNSHIP, WAYNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) - There could be big developments brewing when it comes to the future of natural gas drilling in parts of Northeastern Pennsylvania.  Published reports indicate the Delaware River Basin Commission may soon consider a permanent fracking ban in both Wayne and Pike counties.

Officials with the DRBC would not comment directly on the possibility, but the agency does have a public meeting scheduled for the middle of next week.  As of right now, there is nothing about a possible fracking ban on the agenda, but supporters and opponents both say it's something that very likely could come up.

The rolling hills and farmlands of Wayne County are picture-perfect, untouched by natural gas drilling for nearly seven years now.

Supporters of the industry have been frustrated, saying many property owners here want the economic benefits.  "If you looked at the maps of lands that were leased and farms that were leased from 2010-2011, it was almost 85% of the land mass north of Honesdale," says Curt Coccodrilli, of Wayne Land and Mineral Group.

Curt Coccodrilli is upset to hear the Delaware River Basin Commission might soon propose a fracking ban for Wayne and Pike counties.

"It really is a little agency with a lot of power," says Coccodrilli.

Barbara Arrindell with Damascus Citizens for Sustainability is thrilled about the idea.  For the last decade, her group has been pushing for a permanent drilling ban.

"Every single Delaware River Basin Commission meeting we were there giving them piles of information," says Arrindell.

She says the DRBC, which regulates water quality of the Delaware River has a duty to protect people's drinking water.  She says there are numerous reasons to oppose fracking.  "Human health, environment health, the health of wildlife, the ability to grow food."

If a fracking ban is put in place, industry supporters say that will mean lost jobs and development just because of a county line.

"If you look at Susquehanna County hitting over $1 billion in royalities in ten years, that should have happened here as well!" says Coccodrilli.

The Governors of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Delaware all members of the DRBC.  A spokesman for Governor Tom Wolf said today he couldn't comment on what the agency will do, but says the Governor's position has not changed and he still supports a ban in the River Basin.

The next meeting of the Delaware River Basin Commission is scheduled for Wednesday morning at 10:30.  It will take place at Bucks County Community College.

 

 


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