New York will vote "no" on interstate fracking rules

Nov 11, 2011

Earlier this week, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) released an updated version of its fracking regulations for its watershed. 

The commission oversees an area that covers four states - New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware - and provides water to more than 15 million Americans, including New York City.

But a top official in one of those states says he won't play ball on the draft regulations.

New York's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is in the midst of a similar process within in its borders, which is why Commissioner Joe Martens says the state opposes the DRBC's attempt to write separate rules for natural gas drillers.

"We think it will just be very confusing for the regulated industry to have to go to two separate entities to get permits," says Martens.

Martens added that if the DRBC's regulations were to be adopted, he's not even sure whether its rules, or his agency's would take precedent in New York.

"We would apply [our regulations], and we can only apply ours," says Martens,  "We can't enforce the Delaware River Basin Commission's regulations. They would have to enforce them. It creates confusion."

Each of the DRBC's member states and the federal government (represented by the Army Corps of Engineers) will vote on the new regulations at a public meeting on November 21 in Trenton, New Jersey.

Last May, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a lawsuit against the federal government for what he regards as its failure to undertake a full environmental review of fracking in the Delaware River basin.

Meanwhile, the DEC will begin the first of four public meetings next week regarding its proposed fracking regulations for New York.

Each meeting will have an afternoon (1 - 4 p.m.) and evening (6 - 9 p.m.) session:

  • Nov. 16: Dansville Middle School Auditorium, 31 Clara Barton St., Dansville, NY
  • Nov. 17: The Forum Theatre, 236 Washington Street, Binghamton, NY
  • Nov. 29: Sullivan County Community College, Seelig Theatre, 112 College Rd, Loch Sheldrake, NY
  • Nov. 30: Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers Street, New York, NY