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New Jersey governor calls for DRBC ban on fracking, water withdrawals and wastewater discharges


New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy will cast a vote as the chairman of the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) in support of a watershedwide permanent ban on fracking and its associated activities, including a ban of wastewater storage, processing and discharges in the basin, and a ban on water exports from the watershed to fuel fracking elsewhere.

“This is the no-nonsense approach we critically need to prevent the inevitable degradation and pollution that fracking’s activities would bring to our Watershed and it’s coming just in time,” said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper.

In November 2017, the DRBC proposed draft regulations to ban hydraulic fracturing for shale gas in the Delaware River Basin but allow the storage, processing, and discharge of wastewater produced by fracking and allow water withdrawals from the watershed for fracking operations outside the basin. The DRBC is expected to vote in the coming months on the proposals.

Organizations working for the past eight years to transform the temporary moratorium on drilling and fracking in the basin into a permanent ban joined Murphy’s appeal for the governors of New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware to pledge support for a “yes” vote for the watershedwide ban on fracking and a “no” vote on the proposed draft natural gas regulations that would allow fracking wastewater and water withdrawals for fracking, instead voting to ban all of these fracking-related activities.

The Delaware River Basin is the source of water for at least 15 million people, and a nationally treasured Wild and Scenic River.

The DRBC, the interstate institution responsible for the management of the water resources of the watershed since the 1960s, is governed by the governors and the Army Corps of Engineers, representing the federal administration. A vote of the majority of the five members will decide the fate of the proposed natural gas regulations.