Since 2011, activists and residents from several states have pushed for a ban on fracking in the Delaware River watershed, a source of drinking water for millions in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Is victory on a ban finally within reach?
On November 30, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) released its long-awaited draft rules. The agency is proposing to turn its current moratorium on fracking in the watershed into a permanent ban. That’s the good news. But the rules leave the door open for fracking waste to enter the watershed, and for water withdrawals from the basin that would be used by fracking companies.
So, if these regulations—which are being billed as a ‘ban’ on fracking—are approved, companies could take water to use for drilling, and the discharge of fracking waste could ber permitted, jeopardizing the safety of this precious source of clean drinking water.
There’s important history at stake. The activist campaign to win the current DRBC moratorium was a huge victory that helped spur the movement to ban fracking. We need the fight against fracking to keep going—and that means winning a real fracking ban right here. This fracking-friendly compromise plan is simply unacceptable. The thousands of advocates who have spent years campaigning to ban drilling in the Delaware River basin will make their voices heard once more to Governors Tom Wolf, Andrew Cuomo, John Carney, and Governor-elect Phil Murphy.
The DRBC commissioners, appointed by regional governors and the federal government, are the ones who will decide whether these draft regulations are adequate. That’s why thousands are contacting their governors right now, and many will show up at the commission’s public hearings in the weeks to come.