By Peter Chawaga, Associate Editor, Water Online
In a move that has already draw controversy from either side of the hydraulic fracturing debate, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) has voted to ban the practice from its purview.
The governors of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New York who comprise the commission voted in favor of a resolution that would see regulations drafted and issued banning oil and gas extraction through fracking.
“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,” reported the Times Leader. “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.”
The threat that fracking poses to water quality and abundance is what prompted the move, though evidence that fracking actually endangers water sources is still debated.
“Fracking could diminish our water resources in the Delaware River Basin, through consumption and degraded water quality,” Carney said, per the Times Leader. “This action will guarantee that fracking for oil and gas will not threaten water resources in the basin.”
Despite assurances from the DRBC that the move was necessary, oil and gas advocates would disagree.
“There is no overstating the importance of allowing fracking for natural gas in the Delaware River Basin,” read a column published late last week by the Express-Times. “It could produce as much as $435 million worth of natural gas annually, bringing huge economic benefits and creating manufacturing jobs in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.”
And aside from the economic benefits, many advocates would argue there is no substantive pollution threat posed by fracking operations.
“Environmental groups are understandably concerned that wastewater discharges could contaminate underground water resources that millions of people rely on for drinking water,” the columnist continued. “Besides, nearly all of the wastewater from fracking is recycled for further use to reduce the need for storing or discharging the liquid in wells.”
To read more about fracking visit Water Online’s Produced Water Treatment Solutions Center.
Image credit: “Fracking," Agencia ID, 2017, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/