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Strong opinions remain on Delaware River fracking ban

It has been debated for years but on Thursday, it became official: a permanent ban on fracking for natural gas in the Delware River watershed.

WAYNE COUNTY, Pa. — The Delaware River basin in Pennsylvania is made up of several counties, seven of them in our area, including Wayne County. Over the course of many years, the commission did research, held public comment, and on Thursday voted to permanently ban fracking for gas in the basin.

The battle over Marcellus Shale in the Delaware River basin has been a hot topic for more than a decade, especially in Wayne County.

The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) held a public meeting via Zoom about the future of fracking in the area.

Credit: WNEP

The four states that border the river got a vote, and all voted to approve the ban, including Pennsylvania, emphasizing that chemicals used in fracking would severely damage the water supply.

"High volume hydraulic fracking and related activities pose significant immediate and long-term risks to the development, conservation, utilization, management, and preservation of the water resources of the Delaware River basin and considered by the commission to have exceptionally senior recreational ecological and water supply values," said Steve Tambini, the DRBC executive director.

RELATED: Fracking ban in Delaware River basin

Many environmental groups praised the DRBC, including Damascus Citizens for Sustainability.

Spokesperson Barbara Arrindell put out a statement saying, "Frack drilling and related waste create permanent pollution and impact human and environmental health impacts that the basin will avoid with this precautionary move."

But there are others who feel the commission's vote is a huge injustice to those who are for fracking in Wayne County.

"They have now proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that they have stolen, absconded, the rights of mineral rights, mineral owners in this area," said fracking supporter Tom Shepstone.

"I don't agree with that. I mean, they're taking the water out everywhere else. I mean the gas out of the ground everywhere else, and the water seems to be fine. There's always going to be a negative," Kevin Schrader said.

This ruling is already being challenged in federal court, including a lawsuit filed by landowners in Wayne County as well as some townships and the county itself. The hearing for the lawsuit is scheduled for October.

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