The Delaware River Basin Commission has decided to include “exploratory drilling” in its temporary ban on new permits for natural gas drilling within the 13,000 + square mile river basin, pending the development of regulations for the activity. Read about it here.
Meanwhile the PA legislature is getting closer to passing a severance tax on Marcellus Shale gas extraction, although the pols are still haggling over how to split up revenues from the tax.
Last week the FRAC Act was introduced in Congress to amend the Safe Drinking Water Act exemptions for drilling and to give the EPA authority over hydraulic fracturing. The bills would also require gas drillers to disclose their "proprietary" toxic chemicals used in the fracking process. Senator(s) Bob Casey (D-PA) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY introduced the bill in the Senate and a companion bill was introduced into the House by Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Diana DeJette and Jared Polis (both D's from Colorado, which is pockmarked by shale drilling operations). ProPublica maintains the most comprehensive coverage of the issue.
A good day of rain last Sunday perked up stream flows with the Delaware running a little higher than normal for this date. Most tributaries are running near or below the median flow.
We paddled the Frenchtown to Bulls Island stretch on Monday and had the river to ourselves until the last half mile when we ended up gagging on the stench of jetski exhaust.
Water quality appeared to be relatively poor, presumably due to polluted runoff from the recent rainstorm. The normally clear river was running brown from the sediment that was carried into it by its tributaries. Prior to the rain the water clarity was outstanding.
This could be the trend for this summer if extreme weather plagues us the way forecasters are predicting.