Delaware Public Media

Petition says proposed fracking ban in Delaware River Basin falls short

Dec 10, 2018

Some Delaware environmentalists are worried a proposed fracking ban in the Delaware River Basin does not go far enough.

While pending draft regulations would ban fracking in the basin, they would also allow for treated frack wastewater to be discharged into the river and for the use of fresh water from the basin for fracking elsewhere.

The Delaware River Basin Commission proposed the regulations a year ago. Gov. John Carney is a member along with Governors from Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, as well as the Army Corps of Engineers.

A small group of environmentalists dropped off a petition with more than 104,000 signatures to Carney’s office Monday. Among them was Delaware Riverkeeper Network Deputy Director Tracy Carluccio. She says her group wants a complete ban on fracking.

“We want you to ban it all—to completely ban fracking, frack wastewater, water withdrawals for fracking in order to protect the Delaware from these toxic materials we know are produced from fracking,” said Carluccio.

She adds the draft regulations would allow Pennsylvania fracking operations to discharge wastewater into the basin, harming drinking water for 15 million people.

“Unfortunately the technology has simply not been developed to detoxify all of that waste,” said Carluccio. “So what they do is dilute it and then they discharge it. They can remove some of the pollutants. They know how to remove some heavy metals but they don’t remove all of it.”

Multiple public hearings were held this year to discuss the proposed ban. The commission is expected to vote on the matter in the coming months.