The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) on Monday added two hearings and extended the comment period on proposed regulations regarding hydraulic fracturing activities, giving the public another month to weigh in.
The DRBC is proposing to permanently ban high-volume hydraulic fracturing across its four-state region and change the rule to discourage fresh water exports and wastewater imports. Commissioners justified the ban, noting they had determined fracturing "poses significant, immediate and long-term risks to the development, conservation, utilization, management and preservation of the water resources" within the basin.
Much of the Delaware River Basin acreage in New York and Pennsylvania overlaps the Marcellus Shale.
The deadline to comment on the proposed rules has been extended from Feb. 28 to March 30. Two additional public hearings also were scheduled for February and March for the notice of proposed rulemaking.
“The commissioners believe the extended comment period and two additional hearings announced...in response to numerous requests will provide adequate opportunities for the public and government officials to study the proposed regulations and offer input to inform the commissioners’ decision-making process,” said Executive Director Steve Tambini.
To supplement four previously scheduled public hearings, with two planned on Jan. 23 in Waymart, PA, and two on Jan. 25 in Philadelphia, the commission added two more.
A third hearing is scheduled from 3 p.m. until as late as 7 p.m. EDT on Feb. 22 at the Lisa Scheller-Wayne Woodman Community Services Center, Lehigh Carbon Community College, 4525 Education Park Dr., in Schnecksville, PA. Participants may register in advance or onsite.
A fourth public hearing via telephone is scheduled for 1:30-3:30 p.m. on March 6. The commission plans to moderate a public hearing at (866) 831-8713. To address the commission, the public also may register to speak.
Written comments on the draft regulations, which are to receive the same consideration as oral comments, would be accepted through 5 p.m. EDT on March 30. Written comments and attachments may be submitted also.
Requests for exceptions to use the online registration and written comment collection systems may be addressed to: Commission Secretary, DRBC, P.O. Box 7360, West Trenton, NJ 08628.