Delaware River Basin Commission bans fracking

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Delaware River

WEST TRENTON, NEW JERSEY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) has finalized a rule banning high-volume hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, in the basin.

The Delaware River Basin extends much of the length of Eastern Pennsylvania.

Officials with the commission say the resolution was passed to control pollution, protect the public health and preserve the waters of the basin for other uses.

“As DRBC Chair, I welcome this opportunity to provide the fullest protection to the more than 13 million people who rely upon the Delaware River Basin’s waters for their drinking water.  This collaborative multi-state [and federal] action through the DRBC also complements the goals of the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act, a bill I introduced and which was passed by Congress in 2016, by helping to ensure that the watershed and water resources of the Basin will be protected from these potential sources of pollution,” said Delaware Governor John Carney, who serves as the commission’s current chair.

The ban was ultimately based on several reports which spanned across multiple years on the impact fracking has on the environment and public health. During the public comment portions of the rule-making process, the commission reviewed thousands of written submissions.

Now, the Marcellus Shale Coalition president David Callahan is among those sounding off on the new rules, claiming they violate private property rights.

“It may be a good day for those who seek higher energy prices for American consumers and a deeper dependence on foreign nations to fuel our economy, but this vote defies common sense, sound science, and is a grave blow to constitutionally protected private property rights,” said Callahan in a statement. “The Commission’s blatant disregard for scientific evidence and bodies of independent research – including from the neighboring Susquehanna River Basin where continuous water quality and quantity monitors have shown no impact from shale development – further demonstrates the purely political nature of this action.”

Area elected officials, however, stand on the side of the DRBC.

“After careful analysis and consideration of the unique geographic, geologic and hydrologic characteristics of the Delaware River Basin, DRBC Commissioners acted today under the authority of the Delaware River Basin Compact to protect the water resources of the Basin, the source of drinking water for millions of Pennsylvanians.  Having supported this effort since I was a candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania, I am proud to join with other DRBC Commissioners in preserving the water resources of this unique region for generations to come,” said Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, who serves as the Commission’s current second vice-chair.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy also supported the DRBC decision.

“We are extremely disappointed in Governor Wolf, who aligned with out-of-state interests to jam through a fracking ban that directly harms working-class Pennsylvania families. We were hopeful that President Biden would keep his vague commitment to not ban fracking, as he told Pennsylvania voters over and over. The Biden administration’s lack of action today, along with the president’s economically devastating anti-energy executive orders – which have already put tens of thousands of skilled union laborers out of work – does absolutely nothing to help America,” said Callahan.

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