URGENT: Just Days to Comment on Gas Drilling Regulations for Delaware River Basin
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Natural gas drilling, using fracking methods, could soon come to the Delaware River Watershed, where millions of people live in Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware and New Jersey.
Despite a storm of protest the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) prematurely issued draft natural gas development regulations for the Delaware River Watershed on Dec. 9, 2010. They were asked to wait until a cumulative impact analysis of natural gas development on the Basin’s water resources to be completed. Also, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is studying hydraulic fracturing, the stimulation process that is used to access shale gas; the study of the potential impacts on drinking water, public health and the environment is due out in 2012. Further, New York State is reexamining its high volume hydraulic fracturing environmental study and has a ban in place through July 1, 2011. These scientific studies need to be done to inform DRBC regulations to prevent pollution and avoid degradation from gas development. Instead, the DRBC has fast tracked the process.
What’s Up Now: It’s clear the DRBC has jumped the gun because the draft regulations do not address cumulative impacts, do not set limits on gas development, do not institute high enough standards to protect streams and communities and rely heavily on flawed state regulations that are filled with exemptions and loopholes. The mandate of the DRBC is to prevent degradation of the exceptional water quality of the Delaware River but these proposed gas rules do not make drilling safe, will allow water resources to be depleted, water quality and ecosystems to degrade, and do not protect the water supply for 15 million people.
To learn about what’s happening with current gas development in Pennsylvania and elsewhere a MUST READ is the New York Times series:
Part 1: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/27/us/27gas.html?_r=1&hp
Part 2: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/02/us/02gas.html?_r=2&hp\">
Part 3: http://www.state.nj.us/drbc/notice_naturalgas-draftregs.htm.
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