NORTHEAST PA — The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) is in the process of adopting rules that would effectively make permanent the current temporary ban on gas drilling in the basin that …
NORTHEAST PA — The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) is in the process of adopting rules that would effectively make permanent the current temporary ban on gas drilling in the basin that has been in place since 2010.
Wayne and Pike Counties are in the basin, and State Sen. Lisa Baker thinks that the DRBC should compensate property owners if it blocks them from exploiting the mineral rights of their properties.
She issued a press release that said, “In my judgment, such deprivation of property rights constitutes a taking, just the same as if the property were condemned for any other public use. Landowners are entitled to compensation calculated in the same manner as is any other eminent domain action.”
As a practical matter, the ban would impact only property owners in Wayne and Pike counties, because it’s not believed that gas exists beneath other Pennsylvania counties in the basin, and fracking has already been banned in New York.
It’s still not clear, however, whether recoverable amounts of natural gas exist in the Marcellus Shale in the ground beneath Wayne and Pike. Several test wells were drilled in Wayne County in 2010, but results of those test wells have never been released.
At about that time, Professor Terry Engelder, the expert on the Marcellus Shale who in 2007 made the first sky-high estimate of recoverable Marcellus resources that sparked the overall Marcellus shale gas boom, said that Wayne and Pike counties in Northeast PA and Sullivan County in New York all fall on the wrong side of what he called the “line of death.” That’s a term he coined to describe the border between regions lying over portions of the shale whose properties make them viable to develop, and those that don’t.
State Rep. Jonathan Fritz has also spoken out in recent months against the DRBC and the proposed ban on fracking in the basin. His colleagues in the House in Harrisburg will hold a hearing on the DRBC on June 11.
The hearing announcement from the State Government Committee said the purpose of the hearing was to, “receive testimony from individuals and entities that are regulated by the Delaware River Basin Commission and to investigate concerns of the impact of DRBC policies and actions on business growth and economic vitality in the basin and the rights of property owners within the basin.”
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here