04/02/2018

Proposed Ban on Fracking and New Draft Regulations Must be Strengthened to Protect Delaware River Basin

(April 2, 2018) Mt. Pocono, Pa. - PennFuture strongly supports the proposed ban on fracking in the Delaware River Basin by the Delaware River Basin Commission, but still believes the draft regulations regarding water exportation for fracking and the transport, storage, treatment and disposal of fracking wastewater should be strengthened in order to ensure protection of the basin and the drinking water it provides to millions of people in the region.  
 
 
“The risks on water resources by fracking are well known,” said Abigail M. Jones, PennFuture Staff Attorney. “The Commission has the authority and duty to protect the important water resources and should adopt the proposed fracking ban to fulfill that duty.  However, the Commission must ensure not only that the basin resources are protected from the effects of fracking, but also from the attendant operations that can pose just as great, if not greater, risks to the waters of the Delaware.”
 
While the DRBC’s proposed ban on fracking in the basin eliminates some of these risks, allowing water to be exported from the Delaware and fracking wastewater to be transferred, stored, treated, and disposed within the area means that some of the most harmful impacts to surface water still remain.  
 
“The Commission’s draft regulations must be strong enough to ensure that harms from these fracking-related activities never jeopardize the basin’s water resources and the drinking water of more than 15 million people,” Jones said.
 
In its submitted comments, PennFuture urged the DRBC to do the following: 
  • Adopt the portions of the draft regulations that prohibit fracking within the basin; 
  • Reject the portions of the draft regulations related to water use for fracking until the regulations are strengthened to ensure protection of basin resources; and
  • Reject the portions of the draft regulations related to the management of produced water from fracking until the regulations are strengthened to ensure protection of basin resources.
“Should the Commission reject any of the draft regulations, it must not allow any such activities – whether fracking, water exportation for fracking, or storage, treatment, and disposal of fracking wastewater – to occur within the basin unless and until new, more stringent regulations are adopted,” PennFuture’s comments state.
 
“Allowing for some of the most toxic and concerning by-products to be stored, treated, and disposed of within the basin seems contrary to the prohibition on fracking activities within the basin that is proposed by the draft regulations,” Jones said. “The draft regulations propose a number of requirements to help ensure that the basin resources are protected – and PennFuture strongly supports this effort – but in many cases, the draft regulations should be revised to ensure stronger protections to fully meet the Commission’s duty to protect the basin resources.”
 
 
PennFuture is leading the transition to a clean energy economy in Pennsylvania and beyond. We are protecting our air, water and land, and empowering citizens to build sustainable communities for future generations. For more information, visit www.pennfuture.org.
 
Contact: Stephanie Rex              
Director of Communications
412.463.2942
rex@pennfuture.org