Thursday, September 14, 2017

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Environmentalists give pending fracking ban in the Delaware watershed mixed reviews

WEST TRENTON - The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) adopted a resolution directing 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.   The vote was 3 to 1 with the federal government voting ‘no’ and New Jersey abstaining.

“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,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “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.”

Wes Gillingham, Associate Director, Catskill Mountainkeeper, called it a step in the right direction.

“A ban on fracking in the Delaware River Basin is a tremendous step in the right direction, on an issue that we’ve been battling for years. We commend Governor Cuomo and the other Commissioners who voted in favor of this resolution. New York State banned high volume fracking because of the overwhelming scientific evidence of its threats,” Gillingham said.  “Now we need to take the ban to its logical end—also protecting the Basin from fracking water withdrawals, waste storage, and gas storage.”

Delaware Riverkeeper Maya van Rossum had a different take.

“With this resolution, the DRBC is poised to roll back the high level of protection from drilling and fracking for shale our watershed now enjoys,” Rossum said.  “While posturing the possibility of a ban on fracking in some parts of our watershed, the resolution opens the door wide to many of the most devastating impacts that drilling and fracking for shale brings to waterways and communities.  As a result, we must oppose it.”

The resolution is procedural and initiates a new phase in the rulemaking process. A final draft regulation is expected to be ready for public comment by November 30.


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