Regulators Take Step Forward on Delaware River Fracking Ban - NBC 10 Philadelphia
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Regulators Take Step Forward on Delaware River Fracking Ban

Regulators set to vote on Delaware River gas drilling ban

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    Regulators Take Step Forward on Delaware River Fracking Ban
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    A Cabot Oil and Gas natural gas drill is viewed at a hydraulic fracturing site on January 17, 2012 in Springville, Pennsylvania. Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, stimulates gas production by injecting wells with high volumes of chemical-laced water in order to free-up pockets of natural gas below. The process is controversial with critics saying it could poison water supplies, while the natural-gas industry says it's been used safely for decades. While New York State has yet to decide whether to allow fracking, economically struggling Binghamton has passed a drilling ban which prohibits any exploration or extraction of natural gas in the city for the next two years. The Marcellus Shale Gas Feld extends through parts of New York State, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia and could hold up to 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

    A regulatory commission that oversees water quality in the Delaware River and its tributaries has taken an initial step to permanently ban natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

    The five-member Delaware River Basin Commission on Wednesday approved a measure to begin the lengthy process of enacting a formal ban on drilling and fracking, the technique that's spurred a U.S. production boom in shale gas and oil.

    Representatives of the governors of New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware voted yes on the measure. New Jersey's representative abstained. The federal government voted no.

    The resolution approved by the commission says that fracking "presents risks, vulnerabilities and impacts to surface and ground water resources across the country."

    The Delaware watershed supplies Philadelphia and half of New York City with drinking water.