AP

Regulators limit fracking waste in Delaware River watershed

Dec 7, 2022, 2:06 PM | Updated: 2:14 pm

A regulatory agency responsible for the water supply of more than 13 million people in four Northeastern states moved Wednesday to ban gas drillers from dumping fracking wastewater in the Delaware River watershed and to make it difficult for them to take fresh water out.

The Delaware River Basin Commission voted on regulations designed to limit the gas industry’s ability to draw water from the river and its tributaries for hydraulic fracturing outside the region. The new rules also ban the disposal of drilling wastewater within a vast watershed that includes portions of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Delaware.

Taken together, these “strong safeguards” will “protect the basin’s water resources from the risks posed by high-volume hydraulic fracturing,” Steve Tambini, the DRBC’s executive director, said at the agency’s virtual meeting.

Wednesday’s vote was 4-0, with the federal government’s representative abstaining. The other members of the commission are the governors of the four basin states or their designees.

The agency took action nearly two years after it banned drilling and fracking near the Delaware River and its tributaries, saying the gas industry posed an unacceptable risk to the drinking water supply of a heavily populated area that includes Philadelphia and half of New York City.

Industry officials, who have long chafed at the drilling ban, criticized the latest regulations.

“The DRBC has again trampled on constitutionally protected private property rights and ignored sound science, particularly around our industry’s leadership in water recycling and reuse technology,” said David Callahan, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry group. He said 93% of water used by shale gas drillers is recycled, greatly reducing the need for freshwater withdrawals.

Energy companies use hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to capture natural gas locked in shale rock. The technique, used in conjunction with horizontal drilling, involves pumping vast amounts of water, along with sand and chemicals, deep underground to break up the gas-bearing shale.

Pennsylvania is the nation’s No. 2 gas-producing state, but drilling companies have been kept out of the Delaware watershed since the industry’s arrival more than a dozen years ago.

Environmental and health advocates worried the basin commission did not go far enough Wednesday, warning that the gas industry could exploit loopholes to support industry operations elsewhere in Pennsylvania. Many of the nearly two dozen speakers at the agency’s online meeting called for an outright ban on transportation and storage.

“We cannot trust this industry, and we need to close every possible loophole,” Wes Gillingham, co-founder and associate director of Catskill Mountainkeeper, told the commissioners. “Thank you for doing this work, but this is not over.”

Agency officials minimized the threat, saying that they do not view the basin as attractive for fracking wastewater storage and that no energy company has applied to do so. The agency said it anticipates that “only low volumes” of fracking wastewater will be transported, stored or treated in its region.

“While the commission has broad authority over the basin’s water resources, that authority is not unbounded,” Tambini said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Protesters in Phoenix shout as they join thousands marching around the Arizona state Capitol after ...

Associated Press

Abortion ruling supercharges Arizona to be an especially important swing state

A ruling this week instituting a near-total abortion ban supercharged Arizona's role, turning it into the most critical battleground.

8 hours ago

Former President Donald Trump, center, appears in court for his arraignment, Tuesday, April 4, 2023...

Associated Press

Manhattan court searching for jurors to hear first-ever criminal case against a former president

Jury selection is set to start Monday in former President Donald Trump's hush money case — the first trial of the presumptive nominee.

9 hours ago

Emergency personnel arrive on the scene after a  an 18-wheeler crashed into the Texas Department of...

Associated Press

1 dead and 13 injured in semitrailer crash at a Texas public safety office, with the driver jailed

A driver rammed an 18-wheeler though the front of a building where his renewal for a commercial driver’s license had been rejected.

10 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a Get Out The Vote rally ...

Associated Press

Trump pushes Arizona lawmakers to ‘remedy’ state abortion ruling that he says ‘went too far’

Donald Trump urged Arizona lawmakers on Friday to swiftly “remedy” the state court ruling allowing prosecutors to enforce an abortion ban.

12 hours ago

Biden to require more gun dealers to run background checks....

Associated Press

Biden administration will require thousands more gun dealers to run background checks on buyers

New Biden rule to require thousands more firearms dealers across the United States will have to run background checks on buyers.

1 day ago

Instagram blurring out nudity with new app tools....

Associated Press

Instagram blurring nudity in messages to protect teens from sexual extortion

Instagram says it’s deploying new tools to protect young people and combat sexual extortion by blurring nudity.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

Regulators limit fracking waste in Delaware River watershed