Unanimous vote with New York absent and Delaware abstaining
WEST TRENTON, N.J. — The Delaware River Basin Commission’s Wednesday meeting drew and audience of about 500 people as the agenda contained an approval vote for Stone Energy’s request for water withdrawals to be used in Marcellus Gas fracking in exploratory wells in Wayne County.
Stone Energy’s request for permission to withdraw water for fracking from the Lackawaxen tributary to the Delaware River was granted.
The Delaware representative abstained from voting, and no representative from New York was present because of budget cuts, according to an announcement by the commission.
Representatives for Pennsylvania, New Jersey, the US Army Corps of Engineers, all voted for the measure.
The large audience, acomodated at the West Trenton fire house, appeared to be divided equally - about half against, half for fracking. Shohola had a bus of anti-fracking residents at the meeting, and pro-fracking Wayne County landowners, who have leased their lands for drilling, were present in large numbers.
It was not specified which gas well the water would be used for, and Stone Energy has to go through a permitting process after the EPA finishes its study of the effects of fracking.
A single hearing officer was approved to consolidate issues in a hearing to consider the several objections to gas exploration in the basin, by different bodies including US Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service.
A draft regulation can be expected by fall, according to the Commission spokesperson.