Delaware River Basin Commission Executive Director Carol R. Collier announced she has issued a determination notifying natural gas extraction project sponsors that they may not commence any natural gas extraction project located in shale formations within the drainage area of the basin’s Special Protection Waters without first applying for and obtaining commission approval.
“This determination explains DRBC regulatory requirements on an interim basis and asserts commission review over all aspects of natural gas extraction projects in shale formations within the drainage area of the basin’s Special Protection Waters, regardless of the amount of water withdrawn or the capacity of domestic sewage treatment facilities accepting fracking wastewater,” Collier said. “The commissioners intend to adopt regulations pertaining to the subject matter contained in this determination after public notice and a full opportunity for public comment, but this rulemaking process can be lengthy. In the meantime, DRBC will apply this determination in combination with its existing regulations.”
In taking this action, Collier considered and determined that as a result of water withdrawals, wastewater disposal, and other activities, natural gas extraction projects in shale formations may individually or cumulatively affect the water quality of Special Protection Waters by altering their physical, biological, chemical or hydrological characteristics. (Click here for full announcement)