Thursday, March 24, 2022

Republican Rep. Fritz Introduces Bills To Unilaterally Amend Delaware River Basin Commission Compact To End Fracking Moratorium

Rep. Jonathan Fritz (R-Wayne) has introduced two new bills continuing his years-long effort to end the Delaware River Basin Commission moratorium on shale gas fracking that has been in place in
one form or another since 2010.

The latest justification for ending the moratorium comes under the guise of responding to the oil and natural gas price spikes caused by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

Both would unilaterally amend the DRBC Compact to do several things--

-- Unilateral Change To DRBC Voting: House Bill 2450 (Fritz-R-Wayne) proposes to unilaterally change the 1 state 1 vote now in the Delaware River Basin Commission compact to a system awarding votes based on the land area of each state in the Delaware Watershed. 

It would give Pennsylvania 6 votes, New Jersey 3 votes, New York 2 votes, Delaware 1 vote and the federal government 1 vote, hoping to get enough votes to override the fracking moratorium. 

-- Unilateral Change To DRBC Fracking Ban: House Bill 2451 (Fritz-R-Wayne) proposes to unilaterally change the Delaware River Basin Commission compact by including a provision that would reverse the unconventional shale gas fracking moratorium adopted by the Commission in various forms starting in 2010.  

Fact: Obviously, unilateral changes to the DRBC compact don’t have any effect. That’s not how interstate compacts work.  Any changes must be adopted by all member entities and approved by the U.S. Congress.

Fact: The unconventional drilling industry has not used 40 percent of the permits DEP issued to these companies in other areas of Pennsylvania. The industry received 22,632 well permits, but only actually drilled 13,395-- a gap of 9,237 wells never drilled by industry.   Read more here.

Fact: The Independent Fiscal Office reported in its fourth quarter natural gas production report that only 10,322 horizontal wells-- of the 13,395 wells drilled-- were actually producing gas, and even then production was up 6.8 percent in 2021. Read more here.

Fact: 65 percent of the existing State Forest land shale gas leases have not been developed.  Read more here.

The unconventional gas industry can expand production dramatically today without drilling another well in the near future, if they wanted to, but they haven’t.

Related Articles:

-- Republican House Bill Contains Natural Gas Industry Wish List Of Measures To Expand Natural Gas Drilling, Subsidize Pipeline Expansion, Automatically Approve Well Permits, Preempt Local Governments 

-- House Environmental Committee Sets March 28 Meeting To Vote On Bills Killing RGGI Regulations, Promote Natural Gas Pipelines Into NY, NJ 

-- 2 Republican Senators Lay Out Agenda For Deregulating Oil & Gas Industry, Power Plants In PA

-- PA Natural Gas Politicians Want To ‘Unleash’ PA’s Gas Industry - What We Need First Is For Industry To Divert LNG To Europe; Take Up The Slack; Oil & Gas 2.0; True Energy Independence 

-- DEP Budget Hearing: Unconventional Natural Gas Industry Didn’t Drill 40% Of The Wells It Had DEP Permits For 

-- Senate Budget Hearings: PA’s Experience With New Pipeline Construction Shows State Laws Not Strong Enough To Prevent Environmental Damage, Protect Public Safety 

[Posted: March 24, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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