A 7-year moratorium on natural gas development near the Delaware River would be replaced by a permanent ban under a proposal that’s being developed by the agency that oversees the water supply of more than 15 million people.
The Delaware River Basin Commission, a regulatory body that has representatives from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and the federal government, could vote soon to begin the process of enacting a formal ban on gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing, according to a person with knowledge of the proposal. The person spoke on 7 September on condition of anonymity because the plan is not scheduled to be made public until 8 September.
The ban would apply to two counties in Pennsylvania’s northeastern tip that are part of the nation’s largest gas field, the Marcellus Shale. More than 10,000 Marcellus wells have been drilled in other parts of Pennsylvania since a natural gas boom began nearly 10 years ago, but the industry has been prevented from developing its acreage in the sensitive Delaware watershed. Neighboring New York already has a statewide drilling ban.