Today, Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) sent a letter to the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) requesting they rescind the draft Natural Gas Development Regulations, a proposed set of guidelines for natural gas drilling in the Delaware River Basin.  While an Executive Order currently prohibits all horizontal gas drilling in the State, the actions of the DRBC have raised concerns that regional entities will undercut the strength of State laws even as New York works to set the highest environmental and safety standards.

The letter, which was co-signed by many of Senator Krueger’s colleagues, urges the DRBC to halt all action that would set plans for natural gas drilling into motion until the State’s Environmental Impact Statement is complete and a full cumulative review has been conducted.  The Delaware River Basin, which spans across New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, provides New York City with much of its drinking water.

“We are talking about a practice that has raised so many red flags that the New York State Senate, Assembly and eventually the Governor, felt it should be temporarily banned until more research has been done,” said Senator Krueger. “And yet despite the fact that New York does not allow hydrofracking in the Marcellus Shale, the DRBC has set into motion a process which would allow this very type of drilling within the river’s basin, a basin that runs through New York. This sets a terrible precedent of establishing standards and regulations before all the facts are in.”

Hydro-fracking is a process of gas drilling by which millions of water mixed with chemicals are blasted into the earth to break up shale rock, releasing natural gas embedded inside the rock. However, the exact make up of the chemical “cocktail” used in the fracking process is not known because drilling companies closely guard these ingredients, claiming that information about specific mixtures needs to be kept secret from competitors. Therefore there is no way of monitoring or tracking which chemicals are seeping into the Earth, and thus into New York’s water supply, because the exact chemicals are unknown.

Senate colleagues who joined Senator Krueger include:

Senator Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn)

Joseph Addabbo (D-Queens)

Tony Avella (D-Queens)

Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D-Westchester)

Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn)

Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx)

Diane Savino (D-Staten Island)

Toby Stavisky (D-Queens)

Daniel Squadron (D-Brooklyn)

Letter to DRBC