AAPL Governmental Affairs Member Alert - DRBC Issues Permanent Hydraulic Fracturing Ban

  • 1.  AAPL Governmental Affairs Member Alert - DRBC Issues Permanent Hydraulic Fracturing Ban

    Posted 02-25-2021 15:55
    On February 25, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted unanimously to enact a permanent ban on hydraulic fracturing of natural gas wells in the Delaware River Watershed. The commissioners said the ban would "control future pollution, protect the public health and preserve the waters" of the Delaware Basin. Environmentalists hailed the decision affecting the water supply for more than 13 million people in four states, while the oil and gas industry criticized it.

    The interstate agency approved the final rule (Resolution 2021-01) which affirms a drilling moratorium that has been in place since 2010 and that affects residents of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Delaware.

    The commission also voted unanimously in favor of a companion resolution starting a rule process to ban fracking wastewater imports and water exports for fracking.

    This vote comes about a month after a federal judge set an October trial date for a lawsuit filed against the moratorium by a landowner group in Pennsylvania. Environmental groups called the DRBC vote an "essential first step in stopping the devastating impacts of fracking in the Watershed." But Stephanie Catarino Wissman, American Petroleum Institute executive director in Pennsylvania, said the commission lacks the authority to ban fracking. The decision "ignores a robust regulatory system and strict industry standards that ensure the environment, public health and local communities are protected," she said.

    Lawsuits are expected to be filed challenging the DRBC ban, and we will continue to keep AAPL members informed.

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    Russell Cohen
    AAPL Governmental Affairs