DELAWARE RIVER — The Delaware River Basin Commission has voted to ban hydraulic fracturing, known commonly as fracking, in the Delaware River Basin Commission.
The approved resolution stated …
DELAWARE RIVER — The Delaware River Basin Commission has voted to ban hydraulic fracturing, known commonly as fracking, in the Delaware River Basin.
The approved resolution stated that fracking and related activities “pose significant, immediate and long-term risks to the development, conservation, utilization, management and preservation of the water resources of the Delaware River Basin and to the special protection waters of the basin.”
The final decision comes after more than a decade of a de facto moratorium; it’s sure to invite praise from environmentalist activists and scorn from pro-fracking advocates and the natural gas industry.
Representatives from all four states in the commission—New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware—voted yes on the resolution to prohibit fracking, relaying messages from their governors who said they were proud of the decision.
“I am proud to join with other DRBC commissioners in preserving the water resources of this unique region for generations to come,” DRBC’s Pennsylvania representative Patrick McDonnell said on behalf of Gov. Tom Wolf.
There was no public comment portion of the meeting, because the commission stopped taking comments on the issue in 2018. By then, the DRBC had received around 8,900 comment submissions.
The commission’s federal representative abstained from the vote, “due to additional time needed to coordinate with the new [Biden] administration” while respecting the outcome of the vote.
According to the DRBC’s resolution, numerous factors went into the decision to ban fracking. To name a few: fracking activities have adversely impacted surface water and groundwater resources as well as aquatic life, according to scientific studies, reports from other government agencies and evidence from other areas in the region that have allowed fracking; the region of the river basin underlaid by shale formations is rural, with residents dependent upon the Delaware River’s resources; and the geology of that region is also characterized by extensive geological faults and fractures “providing preferential pathways for migration of gasways or fluids.”
The commission also voted unanimously to develop rules and regulations on the exportation of water from the basin, and the importation of wastewater into the basin for drilling activities by September of this year.