By Kirk Jalbert, PhD, MFA, For Fractracker
Looking at a map of Pennsylvania, three major rivers span the Commonwealth — the Ohio River in the West, the Susquehanna River in the middle of PA, and the Delaware River in the East. The Delaware River Watershed benefits from the active oversight and management of the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) and the Ohio is managed by Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO).
The multi-state effort to protect the Susquehanna River is known as the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC).
These agencies differ greatly in how they oversee protections of their respective watersheds, particularly in the context of oil and gas development.
For instance, the DRBC engages in a range of activities related to water quantity protection (like water supply allocation and water conservation), water quality, regulatory review and permitting, watershed-wide planning, flood mitigation and drought management, and recreational activities.
Meanwhile, ORSANCO and the SRBC interpret their responsibilities very narrowly, primarily focusing on managing issues related to discharge standards in the case of ORSANCO, and water quantity in the case of the SRBC.
In this new series of articles, FracTracker Alliance, in partnership with the Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter and Clean Water Action, takes a closer look at the Susquehanna River Watershed and its many challenges related to industrial development, including deforestation and sedimentation issues, nutrient loading from poor agricultural practices, sewer and stormwater runoff.
A significant component of Susquehanna River Basin impacts can be attributed to expanding oil and gas development. How will the Susquehanna River Watershed withstand future impacts from the oil and gas industry given the SRBC’s limited oversight?
A first step in understanding the problem is to look at the state of the watershed today.
Click Here to read the entire article.For more information on the project, visit the Fractracker website.