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Delaware River Basin Commission undecided on fracking policy

BUCKS COUNTY, Pa. - Environmentalists and people who live in the Delaware River water basin carried a tune inside a Bucks County Community College campus building.

They were hoping to sway the basin's commission and ultimately, the future of natural gas development in its jurisdiction, which includes parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and New York.

The basin supplies drinking water to 15 million people.

The Delaware River Basin Commission approved a resolution Wednesday giving its executive director the go-ahead to come up with revised drilling regulation. It could ban fracking completely. It could also include provisions allowing storage, treatment, and discharge of wastewater associated with fracking elsewhere.

"It is absolutely unacceptable to allow any fracking activity in our watershed," said Deputy Director of the Delaware River Keeper Network, Tracy Carluccio.

Voices from the industry side of the aisle, also concerned with what could happen to a technique that spurred a U.S. production boom in shale gas and oil.

"We think that sends a very chilling message to all industries, because it's clear that drilling is being done safely in Pennsylvania," said the Director of Government Affairs for the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, Kevin Sunday.

"The decision is incredibly short sighted and is political and not scientifically based. The citizens of Pennsylvania that reside within the Delaware River Basin have been deprived the right to develop their minerals," said David Spigelmyer, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition.

The White House also expressed disappointment in a potential fracking ban. But the commission's executive director warned invested parties of jumping to conclusions on what the resolution may entail, emphasizing it will be made public by Nov. 30 with public input and a possible rewrite to follow.


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