In draft rules issued yesterday, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) proposed to ban high-volume hydraulic fracturing (the practice known as fracking) for the extraction of oil and natural gas in the Delaware River Basin. The measure would result in the prohibition of the practice in parts of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware—although New York has already issued a statewide ban.

In 2010, the DRBC issued a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing pending development and issuance of regulations. The moratorium effectively halted drilling activity in a more than 13,000-square-mile area within the basin. The proposed regulations also would impose strict limits on the importation and disposal of waste-drilling fluids from outside the basin.

The federal-interstate agency announced it will hold four public meetings on the proposed measures at the end of January in Waymart, Pennsylvania, and in Philadelphia. The DRBC will accept written comments through February 28, 2018.

Ballard Spahr's Environment and Natural Resources Group advises on national and regional compliance, permitting, rulemaking, development, business planning, and contamination matters. The Group also provides representation in litigation, during investigations, and for transactions.


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