Bucks County Herald

DRBC deliberates banning fracking in watershed

The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) published a draft resolution Monday that could ban gas drilling and fracking but could allow the storage, treatment, and discharge of frack wastewater and the withdrawal of water from the watershed for fracking elsewhere.

The DRBC set its public meeting Wednesday to adopt the resolution “…which would direct the executive director to prepare and publish for public comment by Nov. 30, 2017, a revised set of draft regulations to address natural gas development activities within the Delaware River Basin.”

Last week the Associated Press announced that the DRBC was commencing a process to ban fracking and drilling. While the proposed resolution offers a fracking ban provision, it takes a huge step backwards by including consideration of the removal of the prohibition on frack wastewater discharges and water withdrawals for gas development, which is included in the current fracking moratorium.

The coalition of organizations that have been demanding a complete ban define fracking is opposed to the resolution and is calling for a new resolution that comprehensively and permanently bans all aspects of gas development throughout the entire Delaware River Watershed.

“The proposed DRBC resolution attempts to “cut the baby in half,” which we know ends badly. It is of utmost importance that fracking, in all its aspects, be permanently banned throughout the Delaware River Watershed if the river is to successfully continue to provide clean drinking water to 17 million people.

Fracking and the toxic waste it produces and the vast quantities of water it consumes must be banned in its entirety,” said Tracy Carluccio, deputy director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network.

Since 2010, the DRBC has prohibited natural gas extraction anywhere in the Delaware River Basin. The coalition and members of the public have long been actively demanding a permanent ban on all gas drilling and fracking within the entire Delaware River Watershed, submitting to the DRBC Commissioners last month over 65,000 petitions calling for a permanent fracking ban.

The nontidal Delaware River (from the headwaters in New York State all the way downstream to south of Trenton, N.J.) is the longest stretch of anti-degradation waters in the nation, requiring that the river’s exceptional water quality not be degraded under the DRBC’s Special Protection Waters regulations.

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