Another Blow To Dirty Energy: Fracking Nixed In The Delaware River Basin

Fri, 2011-11-18 16:08Laurel Whitney
Laurel Whitney's picture

Another Blow To Dirty Energy: Fracking Nixed In The Delaware River Basin

Last night, big news erupted across the Northeast with an announcement that fracking in the Delaware River Basin, a pristine watershed that supplies water to over 15 million people, would be suspended. The Delaware River Basin Commission was set to vote on whether or not to permit 20,000 fracking wells in the area on Monday, November 15th. However after enormous citizen backlash, the DRBC realized they did not have the votes to push the practice through.

The Commission is made up of the 4 governors of basin states: New York (Cuomo), New Jersey (Christie), Pennsylvania (Corbett), and Delaware (Markell). The fifth member is from the Army Corps of Engineers, who is there to vote on behalf of the Obama administration.

Earlier in the week, sources indicated that Pennsylvania and New Jersey were set to vote yes, while New York was set to vote no. This left Delaware and the Obama administration up in the air. Advocacy groups and citizens targeted Delaware, knowing that the Obama administration wouldn’t likely leave themselves in the position of tie-breaker.

Knowing of the widespread, devastating health and environmental effects fracking has left in other areas of the nation, many people in the Delaware River Basin are immensely concerned about the prospect of fracking in their watershed. So much so, that when information came out that offices of the members of the Commission were tallying phone calls, people flooded the offices with calls and emails urging each to vote no on allowing fracking into the area, to the point where voicemail boxes were full for days.

After Delaware announced they would vote no at Monday’s meeting, as predicted, the meeting was soon cancelled. Ideally citizens would have liked to see fracking legitimately outlawed, but for now, it’s a temporary victory that will keep gas fracking - which some have dubbed as extreme energy extraction - out of an area that supplies water to millions.

Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch made the following statement,

This is a victory for the grassroots activists who have passionately rallied to protect our water, communities and health from the potentially devastating effects of this dirty practice. By standing up against big lobbying cash and flashy ads touting the job creating effects of shale gas development, we have won this critical fight.This delay is really a testament to the power of fighting for the what we believe in, not the best we can get. We’ll continue to forge ahead until we have a ban on fracking in the U.S.”

Previous Comments

Wow I figured big posts on this. Well if I could give any personal advice to the Delaware River Basin Commission I would say to have another meeting and vote on having a special election by the people of the region asap. If this is done then it will stand for good. There are enough nay votes to put drilling down for good if the ballot did not mention any “because” but just a simple yes or no to mining. This would be protection from major lawsuits. As it stands right now it hangs in the balance of the fracking report. If the final report comes out even marginal then the energy companies can move in. If the council decides to make it permanent then they may be faced with class action lawsuits. All states have enough population in the basin against fracking that they can make a popular vote to ban mining and make it stick. Don’t mention fracking but ban all mineral excavation in pristine areas. Popular vote is the way to go or the legal system will be taxed!       

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