Environmental groups call for permanent fracking ban along Delaware River watershed

A large coalition of environmental groups is urging the Delaware River Basin Commission to permanently ban fracking on the river's watershed area, which flows from New York, through Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and on to Delaware.

Currently, there is a temporary ban on fracking within the watershed. Fracking is a method of extracting natural gas or oil trapped underground in shale.

In all, 183 groups comprised mostly of environmental organizations backed a letter to the DRBC's voting members, which include the Governors of the four states and the Army Corps of Engineers to make the ban permanent.

Among those representing the groups are the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, the New Jersey Sierra Club, Clean Water Action, and Environment New Jersey, according to a press release issued by representatives of the environmental organizations.

“Now is the time to give permanent protection and peace of mind to all those who rely upon and appreciate the Delaware River watershed” said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, in the press release.

The DRBC moved its regular meeting Wednesday to an auditorium that could  handle a capacity crowd.

Lt. Col. Michael Bliss, a federal representative on the commission, released a statement suggesting there was no immediate change in the status of fracking planned, although the topic is always part of the DRBC's discussions.

"There is no other activity or action planned on natural gas development rulemaking at today’s quarterly Commission business meeting," the statement said.