Delaware Public Media

Delaware Sierra Club joins call for fracking ban in the Delaware River Basin

Mar 16, 2017

 

Delaware environmental groups are joining others in the region in calling for a permanent ban on fracking in the Delaware River Basin.

The First State does not have any accessible shale, which makes fracking unlikely to happen here. But Stephanie Herron, the outreach coordinator for the Delaware Chapter of the Sierra Club, said she is concerned that if officials from the Delaware River Basin Commission lift a seven year ban on drilling in the basin, it could harm the drinking water quality in the First State.

 

Herron said she has a lot of concerns about fracking in regard to the health of nearby communities.

 

“We don’t know what the chemicals are going down there but also it’s impossible to predict how exactly the rocks under the ground will break,” Herron said.

 

When fracking breaks shale up, the cracks formed could transfer chemicals into underground aquifers, contaminating groundwater, and as a result, increasing the chances that nearby communities could get sick. Since there’s no accessible shale in Delaware that allows for fracking, that means contaminated water from fracking nearby could flow down to the basin.

 

That's an issue because the Delaware River Basin is a source of drinking water for over 15 million people in Delaware, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

 

“We have a majority of Delawareans getting their drinking water directly from the Delaware River watershed,” Herron said.

 

More than 180 organizations and environmental groups wrote a letter to the commission advocating for a permanent ban on fracking in the watershed after they heard news that the commission could allow natural gas drilling that would end a seven year moratorium on drilling in the basin.

 

Herron said they are still waiting to hear back from the commission.

 

 

The Sierra Club also sent a petition to Gov. John Carney (D) asking him to oppose any regulations that would allow fracking to move forward in the watershed.