Today the regional multi-state agency (the Delaware River Basin Commission, DRBC) charged with preserving and restoring the Delaware River, its tributaries and watershed made a historic announcement for protecting this important local waterway by proposing to ban the oil and gas drilling practice known as "fracking" within the Delaware River Basin. "Millions of New Yorkers rely on the Delaware River for our drinking water supply-we have to guarantee that we protect this source water from the pollution threats posed by fracking, and today's announcement is a crucial step forward in ensuring that guarantee".
They were hoping to sway the basin's commission and ultimately, the future of natural gas development in its jurisdiction, which includes parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and NY.
Voices from the industry side of the aisle, also concerned with what could happen to a technique that spurred a USA production boom in shale gas and oil. New Jersey abstained, and the federal government voted no.
"I think it's very significant", Gov. John Carney said on WDEL's Afternoon News that afternoon.
The resolution before the basin commission says that fracking "presents risks, vulnerabilities and impacts to surface and ground water resources across the country".
"The frackers get our clean water and we get a Superfund site back". Draft regulations will be published no later than November 30, with hearings and a public comment period to follow.
"You don't know what the rules are going to say yet, so take it easy", he said.
But the proposed process would stop short of banning all fracking related activities and would instead seek to regulate how fracking wastewater can be stored, processed and even disposed of within the DE basin, as well as transportation of water out of the basin for fracking operations elsewhere.
In 2011, the commission began drafting rules that would have allowed limited fracking in the region.
The commissioners will consider changes to the revised draft regulations that may be appropriate based on the comments received.
In a joint letter Tuesday, the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) and the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry (PCBI) urged Wolf to reject the DRBC's resolution.
The Marcellus Shale Coalition, representing drillers, and the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry sent a letter to Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf asserting that given the volume of drilling elsewhere in Pennsylvania, "it defies both common sense and logic for the DRBC to conclude that natural gas development can not be done safely within its watershed".