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Delaware River Basin Commission takes step toward banning fracking

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Courtesy of dec.ny.gov
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Watersheds of the DRBC

The Delaware River Basin Commission is working on drafting regulations against extracting oil and gas from rocks in the region.
Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, is the process of using water to take oil and natural gas from rocks.

The commission has had a temporary ban on drilling for natural gas in the basin since 2010, but is now looking to make it permanent.

Stephanie Herron, the volunteer and outreach coordinator for Delaware Sierra Club, says she’s happy they’re taking a step towards banning fracking. But she worries about how fracking in nearby watersheds and storage of wastewater that comes from other regions will affect the basin.

“This half measure is not adequate to protect our water quality, our economy, our environment or our health,” Herron said.

The Delaware River Basin is a source of drinking water for 15 million people across Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.  

“We know that fracking cannot be done safely,” Herron said.

Those four states are voting members on the commission. All voted to move ahead with drafting regulations, except New Jersey, which abstained.

Governor John Carney said in a statement that the DRBC resolution coincides with the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act because it ensures the protection of the basin’s resources.

“Fracking could diminish water resources in the Delaware River basin, both through consumption and degraded water quality,” Carney said. “We are pleased to join both New York and Pennsylvania in voting in favor of this resolution, which will protect public health, and a precious water supply.”

Commission members are expected to come up with draft regulations by Nov. 30.

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