The Delaware Riverkeeper Network said more than 50 organizations have signed a petition asking the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) to take regulatory authority over natural gas pipelines in the watershed.

“The DRBC should use its existing authority, or establish new authority, to ensure [that] no new pipelines will be constructed that might adversely affect water quality,” said Kate Sinding, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), told the Express-Times of Easton, PA. The NRDC was one of 52 organizations to sign the petition.

The Riverkeeper Network says it plans to submit the petition to the DRBC at its next meeting, which is scheduled for Dec. 5.

The move comes as Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line (Transco) plans its Northeast Supply Link project, which would provide 250,000 Dth/d of incremental firm transportation capacity from supply interconnections on Transco’s Leidy Line in Pennsylvania to its 210 Market Pool in New Jersey and the Manhattan, Central Manhattan and Narrows delivery points in New York City (see Shale Daily, Nov. 6).

Transco’s project comprises 13 miles of 42-inch pipeline segments — also known as loops — in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, plus additional compression and existing facility modifications. It is expected to be in operation by November 2013 (see Shale Daily, Aug. 2).

The DRBC, an interstate compact that manages the basin’s waterways, was set to vote on a proposal to revise its water quality regulations last November, but the meeting was canceled and the proposal postponed indefinitely after Delaware Gov. Jack Markell said he opposed it (see Shale Daily, Nov. 21, 2011). A de facto moratorium on fracking in the basin remains in effect.

In September, a DRBC official told NGI’s Shale Daily negotiations between the four states in the commission — Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York — were taking place, but declined to speculate over when an agreement might be reached (see Shale Daily, Sept. 27).

Members of the DRBC include the governors of the four basin states and the federal government, represented by the commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ North Atlantic division.