A regulatory agency that’s responsible for the water supply of more than 13 million people in four states has voted to permanently ban natural gas drilling and fracking in the watershed.
The Delaware River Basin Commission first imposed a moratorium on gas development more than a decade ago. The agency says fracking poses too great of a risk to the water supply.
Republican state lawmakers in Pennsylvania, as well as a landowners group, have filed lawsuits challenging the commission’s right to regulate gas development.
The Delaware and its tributaries supply drinking water to Philadelphia and half the population of New York City.
The four states that border the river got a vote and all voted to approve it, including Pennsylvania, who had the head of the DEP speak for Gov. Tom Wolf.
"I'm proud to join with other DRBC commissioners in preserving the water resources of this unique region for generations to come, and with that, we vote in support of the resolution as well," said Pennsylvania DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.
This ruling by the DRBC is already being challenged in federal court, including a lawsuit filed by landowners in Wayne County.
This does not impact fracking in the rest of Pennsylvania.