White House Could Cast Decisive Vote to Permit 20,000 Fracking Wells in Delaware River Basin

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Friday 11 November 2011
by: Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! | Report


This week the Delaware River Basin Commission released draft regulations to allow for the natural gas drilling technique hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, in the river’s watershed, which provides water to 15.6 million people in New York City, Philadelphia and New Jersey. The proposed plan would allow for some 20,000 gas wells to be developed in the watershed. A vote on the regulations is set for Nov. 21 and could prompt a battle between activists and the White House, which holds a seat on the commission and may cast the deciding vote. We speak with Josh Fox, whose documentary about fracking, "Gasland," was nominated for an Academy Award, and play an excerpt of his new video about the possible impacts natural gas fracking could have in the Delaware River Basin.

AMY GOODMAN: While environmentalists are claiming a temporary victory after the Obama administration put off approving the tar sands oil pipeline, another major fight between environmentalists and the White House is brewing in the Northeast. Earlier this week, the Delaware River Basin Commission released draft regulations to allow for the major natural gas drilling technique known as "fracking" in the river’s watershed. The Commission is expected to vote on the rules on November 21st. With one seat on the Commission, the White House may cast the deciding vote. The states of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware also each have a representative on the board.

In a moment we’ll be joined by the film director and activist Josh Fox, who made the Academy Award-nominated film Gasland. But first let’s turn to his new short web video about this upcoming vote.

JOSH FOX: The Delaware River has never been in greater danger. There’s never been a more decisive or important moment in the fight against fracking and the Delaware River Basin than right now. Gas drilling companies have leased over 200,000 acres that border the Delaware River and its tributaries. For the past three-and-a-half years, thousands upon thousands of citizens and scores of organizations have fought to keep gas drilling of the Delaware River Basin. And for the past three-and-a-half years, the region has been in moratorium. On November 21st, all that could change.


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