Governors vote for fracking ban in Delaware River Basin

Times Leader | October 9th, 2017 8:43 pm - updated: 8:44 pm.

Governors of Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York, comprising a majority of the Delaware River Basin Commission, have voted in favor of a resolution put forward by the commission to issue draft regulations to permanently ban hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas in the Delaware River Basin.

The DRBC vote was three to one with one abstention in passing the resolution for promulgating regulations that would prohibit any water project in the Delaware River Basin proposed for developing oil and gas resources by high-volume hydraulic fracturing.

Delaware Gov. John Carney said that the resolution is consistent with the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act, a bill introduced by Carney and passed by Congress in 2016, by helping to ensure that the water resources of the basin will be protected for present and future generations.

“Fracking could diminish water resources in the Delaware River Basin, both through consumption and degraded water quality,” said Carney. “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. This action will guarantee that fracking for oil and gas will not threaten water resources in the basin.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, “Protecting and preserving our water resources is paramount to ensuring the health and wellbeing of New Yorkers and of all residents living within the Delaware River Basin. With this resolution, the DRBC builds on New York’s leadership to protect the environment and public health from hydraulic fracturing, while protecting this vital water source that millions of people depend on every day. ‎I am proud to stand with my colleagues from Delaware and Pennsylvania in approving this critical resolution, and we will continue to work on developing the necessary regulations to codify this commonsense resolution.””

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said he was pleased to see the DRBC take a step forward after years of study.

“Today, we are acting to protect a watershed that supplies drinking water to more than 15 million people in one of the most densely populated areas of the country,” he said. “I believe this resolution preserves water quality and water supply for the residents of the watershed, and will protect this precious resource for generations to come.

“I have supported this resolution since I was a candidate for governor of Pennsylvania, and I am proud that we have worked collaboratively to move this process forward after almost a decade of work at the DRBC.”

The Delaware River Basin, which drains from portions of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, supplies drinking water to more than 15 million people. Governors of the four basin states and a federal representative serve as Delaware River Basin Commissioners, tasked with overseeing a unified approach to managing the river system without regard to political boundaries. The commission has oversight in the basin for water quality protection, water supply allocation, regulatory review (permitting), water conservation initiatives, watershed planning, drought management, flood loss reduction and recreation.

A Seneca Resources Corp. crew prepares a well-drilling site in Loyalsock State Forest near Trout Run, Pa. (Clem Murray/Philadelphia Inquirer/MCT) A Seneca Resources Corp. crew prepares a well-drilling site in Loyalsock State Forest near Trout Run, Pa. (Clem Murray/Philadelphia Inquirer/MCT)

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Reach Tom Venesky at 570-991-6395 or on Twitter @TomVenesky