DRBC: Still working on natural-gas regulations

The Delaware River Basin Commission is meeting this afternoon, and the federal representative has just given an update on the attempt to develop regulations to govern natural gas activity in the basin.

Lt. Col. Philip M. Secrist of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers just said: "Back in November, the regulations were scheduled for a vote. It was postoned. Since then, the commissioners have continued work on those regulations. Specifically, using sound science, the commisioners are still reviewing the proposed regulations ... to ensure that they will be protective of the water resource. We do not have a firm date for those proposed regulations coming to a vote. But we are in discussions and are working together as a commission. I know that's on a lot of folks' minds. That's where we're at, at this point in time."

None of the other commissioners commented.

The commission has five members -- Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, New York and the federal government.  It has placed a moratorium on drilling in the basin, placing rich Marcellus shale deposits in the upper river off limits.

Regulations were proposed in December of 2010. During a public comment period, the commission received nearly 70,000 submissions. A vote was twice scheduled, and twice postponed.