This opinion piece was written for Earthjustice and is reprinted here with permission.
The Associated Press had a story on April 13 detailing how regulators in Pennsylvania spend as little as 35 minutes reviewing gas drilling permits before giving companies approval to blast millions of gallons of chemically treated water into the earth to extract the gas, a controversial practice known as fracking.
Across the country, gas production using fracking has been linked to contaminated drinking water, exploding wells, mysterious animal deaths and other unsettling incidents.
The information came to light because of a lawsuit challenging a permit issued to drill in the Delaware River Basin, an area that supplies drinking water to more than 15 million people in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Thankfully, drilling in this critical watershed has mostly been kept at bay because of a temporary moratorium. But that could change in an instant. Officials with the Delaware River Basin Commission seem bent on rushing through a regulatory process and giving the oil and gas industry a green light to drill in the watershed. They’ve given the public only until midnight Friday to weigh in on their proposed regulations.
Considering the risk to the 15 million people who rely on this area for their drinking water — and the fact regulators are being pressed to rubberstamp permits — it only makes sense for officials to proceed with caution, right?
If you agree that it’s worth spending a little time to make sure drinking water for 15 million people is protected, click here to send a note to DRBC officials.