Fracking Ban in PA’s Delaware Basin?

The five commissioners of the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) are scheduled to vote tomorrow (Wednesday, September 13) on a resolution that, if adopted, will give the greenlight to DRBC staff to begin drafting regulations on hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) of natural gas that underlies the Delaware River watershed. While not crystal clear, the draft resolution language seems to be pointing in the direction of a fracking ban in Wayne and Pike counties in northeast Pennsylvania (NY already has a statewide ban on fracking). This important decision comes after years of controversial and often heated debate about the economic and environmental implications of fracking in the Delaware River watershed. In the absence of studies that adequately demonstrate the cumulative impacts of fracking on the Upper Delaware River watershed, the DRBC appears to be erring on the side of caution in protecting the Upper Delaware watershed. This comes at a time when the recreational attributes of the upper river are increasingly being relied upon for local and regional economic revival and long term prosperity. The rulemaking process will likely be lengthy with ample opportunity for public participation. We will keep you updated on developments as they occur.

Here are the links to the DRBC’s news release, draft resolution, and FAQs.

October Showdown Looming on the Upper Delaware River

All five of the 1954 Supreme Court Decree Parties continue to engage in negotiations surrounding the next management plan for the NYC Delaware River basin reservoirs. While shrouded in the usual secrecy that continually plagues these negotiations, the parties appear optimistic that a new plan is in sight. All indications are that the objectives of the Upper Delaware River conservation community are under active discussion. In the meantime the clock is ticking loudly on NYC’s voluntary release program. The process of ramping down the voluntary releases is underway with an October 10 deadline when they will end completely. Without a new plan or interim safeguards in place on that date, an archaic plan known as Revision 1 will take effect and the Upper Delaware River will suffer a severe blow from dangerously low water releases which could harm the river for years to come. With the health of the entire Delaware River watershed at stake, it’s difficult to imagine how the Decree Parties could allow the full force of Revision 1 to be reinstated. So we are facing yet another crucial showdown and the Upper Delaware River stands to suffer the most. Can the Decree Parties reach agreement on a plan that avoids the catastrophic impacts of Revision 1? Thanks to the advocacy efforts of thousands of passionate Upper Delaware River defenders, the Decree Parties continue to hear loud and clear about the urgency of adopting a new water release plan that avoids an October 10 disaster and ensures the long term protection of the river.  Keep it up.

Paul Rush (NYC): prush@dep.nyc.gov, 845-334-7107
Mark Klotz (NY): mark.klotz@dec.ny.gov, 518-402-8233
Jennifer Orr (PA): jeorr@pa.gov, 717-772-5633
Dan Kennedy (NJ): dan.kennedy@dep.nj.gov, 609-292-4543
David Wunsch (DE): dwunsch@udel.edu, 302-831-8258

River Update from Friends of the Upper Delaware River