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The Delaware River Basin Commission has approved a permanent ban on hydraulic fracturing of natural gas wells along the river, doubling down in the face of new legal challenges.
DRBC permanently bans fracking near Delaware River
The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), the regulatory agency responsible for the water supply of more than 13 million people in four Northeastern states, voted last month to permanently ban natural gas drilling and fracking near a crucial waterway, asserting that gas development poses an unacceptable risk. The DRBC cited “significant immediate and long-term risks”from gas extraction, saying in a resolution that drillers have “adversely impacted surface-water and groundwater resources, including sources of drinking water, and have harmed aquatic life in some regions.” — AP
watershed moment will significantly contribute to a clean energy future
Thursday25 February. In a historic move, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted to ban hydraulic fracking in the region. The ban was supported by all four basin states — New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York — putting a permanent end to hydraulic fracking for natural gas along the 13,539-square-mile basin, The Philadelphia Inquirerreported.
The vote affirms a 2010 moratorium by the DRBC, an agency that manages the water. Pressured by environmental groups, commissioners used their authority to safeguard public and environmental health and limit future pollution, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
"Today’s decision is a historic watershed moment and one that will significantly contribute to a clean energy future," Patrick Grenter, associate director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign,said in a statement. "Fracking threatens the health of our people, water, climate, and communities and we’re relieved to see it outlawed in the Delaware River Basin."
The basin is home to diverse species such as native trout, American eels and bald eagles
Fracking for natural gas involves blasting high volumes of pressurised water and chemicals into rock formations. This has led to contaminated water wells, while wastewater spills have transmitted radioactive materials into surface and groundwater,StateImpact Pennsylvania reported. These pollutants and chemicals are linked to cancers and other health issues in humans and wildlife,NRDC reported.
If fracking were to be allowed in the Delaware River Basin, these same impacts could affect the 17 million people that rely on the basin for drinking water, putting 45,000 people who live within a mile of the planned fracking well locations at high risk for those health problems, the NRDC added. The basin is also a critical habitat for one of the most important fisheries in the country, home to diverse species such as native trout, American eels and bald eagles.
The Sierra Clubis America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organisation, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters.
In addition to protecting every person’s right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. See what some of their members had to say below.