The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) issued a revised proposed amendment addressing hydraulic fracturing (HF) and related activities within the Delaware River Basin.
The Commission, led by governors of the basin states Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania and a representative from the federal government, issued an 8-page draft outlining the regulations, titled ‘Proposed New 18CFR Part 440: Hydraulic Fracturing in Shale and Other Formations’. The document states, “The Commission has determined that high volume hydraulic fracturing poses significant, immediate and long-term risks to the development, conservation, utilization, management, and preservation of the water resources of the Delaware River Basin and to Special Protection Waters of the Basin, considered by the Commission to have exceptionally high scenic, recreational, ecological, and/or water supply values. Controlling future pollution by prohibiting such activity in the Basin is required to effectuate the Comprehensive Plan, avoid injury to the waters of the Basin as contemplated by the Comprehensive Plan and protect the public health and preserve the waters of the Basin for uses in accordance with the Comprehensive Plan.” Regarding exporting water from the Basin for use in HF, the document states, ‘the diversion, transfer or exportation of water from sources within the Basin to support hydraulic fracturing outside the Basin is discouraged.”
The majority of the document details the discouragement of importing wastewater into the Basin area. Operators seeking to export water for HF operations or to import wastewater would need approval through the docket process at DRBC.
Since 2009, the DRBC has stated gas drilling in the Delaware Basin needed to be reviewed. The review was postponed in 2010 and did not act on the adopting the rules in 2011, leading to a de facto moratorium.
The Commission will be holding four public hearings in January in Waymart and Philadelphia. Registration is required, and will close at 5 PM ET on December 31st. Written comment on the draft regulations may be submitted until 5 PM on February 28th, 2018 on the commission’s online comments page. The draft regulation, related materials and public input information can be found on the Commission’s web site .