New York, NY – 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.
“Expanding and implementing this ban on fracking and fracking activities is crucial for the residents of New York,” stated Heather Leibowitz Director of Environment New York. “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.”
“The Delaware River is the backbone to the region,” noted Environment America’s Clean Water Campaign Director Megan DeSmedt. “Residents and businesses are inextricably tied to the Delaware River, and this is a crucial step to protect it now and for future generations.”
“This is a watershed moment for protecting this great watershed,” said David Masur, Executive Director of PennEnvironment. “Over the last decade since this battle started, one thing has become crystal clear: the industry has shown that they are either unable or unwilling to comply with basic, common sense environmental laws and safeguards, and that they are unable to frack without chronically polluting, putting our environment and health at extreme risk, and even breaking the law.”
While Environment America and its state affiliates in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York (PennEnvironment, Environment New Jersey, and Environment New York, respectively) strongly support the proposal to ban fracking in the Delaware River watershed, the organizations also called on DRBC to close loopholes that exist in their current proposal. This includes a ban on the disposal, storage, treatment or discharge of fracking wastewater, as well as a ban on any water withdrawals from the Delaware River Basin for fracking or fracking-related purposes.
“If we’re going to truly protect the Delaware River watershed from all of fracking’s harmful effects, the final proposal must include banning fracking wastewater from being imported into the watershed or water withdrawals from the Delaware River to be used in the fracking process,” stated Doug O’Malley, Director for Environment New Jersey. “These activities pose a serious threat to water quality and the ecological health of the basin and must not be allowed.”
“Local residents and the general public have sent a message to DRBC and our elected officials for the past ten years: it is crucial we protect the Delaware River basin from this dangerous practice that could do irreparable harm to this great river,” stated Leibowitz. “It’s not a coincidence that the largest, most active public comment period in DRBC history was originally around proposals to protect the Delaware River from fracking—that speaks volumes to the public’s concern about this issue.