... and Moves Towards a Full Ban
Today, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted to approve the Proposed Amendments to the Administrative Manual and Special Regulations Regarding Hydraulic Fracturing Activities. The proposed amendments include the prohibition of high volume hydraulic fracturing in shale and other rock formations, provisions related to water use for hydraulic fracturing, and provisions related to the management of produced water from hydraulic fracturing. The DRBC also adopted Resolution 2021-02 to open up a comment period for a comprehensive ban that would include the importation of fracking wastewater and the exportation of water for fracking.
“This is a big win today in the battle to ban fracking on the Delaware River. This historic vote means that fracking can no longer take place in the Basin. More importantly, the Commission is working towards a full ban including the discharge of wastewater and taking of drinking water for fracking. This ban is critical. It will help protect the drinking water for 15 million people from water pollution. It also means that there won’t be pipelines built to take that gas to the market, protecting even more land and water. It is important that Governor Murphy and the other Governors finally did this,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “This is a first giant step toward getting a full ban that will end up banning all fracking activities.”
According to the DRBC, they have “determined that high volume hydraulic fracturing poses 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 Special Protection Waters of the Basin, considered by the Commission to have exceptionally high scenic, recreational, ecological, and/or water supply values.”
“This is a great day for the Delaware River. After fifteen years, we’ve finally been able to ban fracking in the Basin. Even though we had this victory today, we need to make sure that the ban is comprehensive and includes fracking waste and water withdrawals for fracking. Fracking involves injecting huge amounts of water and chemicals in rock formations that can pollute surrounding aquifers and waterways. This requires mixing millions of gallons of water with toxic chemicals including volatile organic chemicals like benzene, methyl benzene, formaldehyde, and others that are linked to cancer,” said Tittel. “Looking at also banning dumping of waste and water withdrawals is critical to stop fracking. By not allowing waste to come here, fracking companies will have less places to take their waste so less fracking will happen across the country.”
Banning fracking is important to protect public health and the environment. Fracking involves injecting huge amounts of water and chemicals in rock formations that can pollute surrounding aquifers and waterways. This requires mixing millions of gallons of water with toxic chemicals including volatile organic chemicals like benzene, methyl benzene, formaldehyde, and others that are linked to cancer.
“It is critical that the DRBC is taking the next steps to get to a full ban and really protect us. They removed language that allowed for the importation of waste or exportation of water for fracking. They also passed a resolution that will prohibit these activities in the future. Governor Murphy came out for a full ban 4 years ago, and he signed a letter with Governors Carney and Wolf in 2018 supporting a full ban. Now they need to keep their word. Dumping fracking wastewater is dangerous because it contains over 600 different toxic chemicals, many of them carcinogenic. This could lead also to pollution and contaminated drinking water,” said Tittel. “Without this ban, we could have seen tens of thousands of wells in the Basin, hundreds of thousands of acres destroyed, and billions of gallons of water would have been polluted. We need to make sure that they move forward with a comprehensive fracking ban to protect the Delaware River.”
The Delaware River Basin covers 13,000 sq. miles of land in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and New York. By banning fracking, the DRBC is helping to protect the public health and preserve the waters of the Basin for uses in accordance with their Comprehensive Plan.
“This is a victory in our battle to protect the Delaware River Basin for now and in the future. Just as important, they are taking the critical next step to move forward with a full ban. We have to come out and help them as they work to get it done. There will be public hearings and comment periods, and we need to make sure that we help them do the right thing. The Delaware River is an environmental treasure on the East Coast that supplies the clean drinking water for more than 15 million people. The River includes acres of forests, open space, and waterways that provides habitat for hundreds of wildlife species,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “We want to thank the Governors, including Governor Murphy, for voting to ban fracking and for moving forward with a full ban. Today is one of the most important days we’ve had in a long time to protect the Delaware River for future generations.”