Federal Interstate Commission Publishes Gas Drilling Rules

Water agency publishes gas drilling regulations

By Michael Rubinkam •The Associated Press •
December 9, 2010, 9:29 am

The agency that oversees water quality and quantity in the Delaware River basin has issued proposed regulations for the natural gas drilling industry.

The Delaware River Basin Commission published the long-awaited and hotly anticipated regulations on its website Thursday morning. They govern a range of drilling activities, including water withdrawals, well pad siting and wastewater disposal. The proposed rules also require drilling companies to post a “financial assurance” of $125,000 per well.

The commission has declared a moratorium on Marcellus Shale drilling projects in the Delaware River basin until the rulemaking process is complete. The panel has jurisdiction because the drilling process will require the withdrawal of huge amounts of water from the watershed’s streams and rivers. The commission has also cited the potential for groundwater and surface water contamination. (More…)

UPDATE (12/15): Late Saturday afternoon, Governor Paterson vetoed the hydrofracking moratorium (A.11443/S.84xx)  bill and issued an Executive Order that places a moratorium on permits for “horizontal hydraulic fracturing” through July 2011.

Just an update, [A]s we await NY Governor Paterson’s decision on the “hydrofracking moratorium.” There is so much rule-making taking place it’s hard to imagine, when and if, natural gas will ever be tapped in New York State. It is precisely because of all these rule-making agencies and studies that the NY moratorium law is meaningless, besides being overbroad.

The federal Delaware River Basin Commission is a four-state commission. It issued a moratorium on gas drilling in the Delaware River Rasin portion of the Marcellus Shale to prevent any one of the four States from issuing their own permits based on state regs. New York has not issued any regulations and is not likely to do so in the foreseeable future.

A veto of the “hydrofracking moratorium” by Governor Paterson quashes a flawed bill and lets the business community know that NYS officials will wait for the science before making any decisions to cut off future economic activities.

About SquarePegDem

A former state legislator turned NY Post editorial board member, thought-leader, public affairs consultant and commentator, columnist and blogger. Michael has appeared on Al Jazeera America Tonight, NY1/Inside City Hall, FoxNews.com LIVE, YNN/Capital Tonight, The Brian Lehrer Show, The Fred Dicker Show, The Capitol Press Room, and The Daily Show. His op-eds have appeared in the NY Post, City and State, The Legislative Gazette, Bronx Times, The Troy Record, Buffalo News, and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. To schedule speaking engagements, email MBenjamin9@optimum.net.
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