House Begins Debate On Bill To Compensate Delaware River Watershed Drilling Rights Owners Over $10 Billion If DRBC Adopts Fracking Ban

On May 14, the House began debating House Bill 827 (Fritz-R-Wayne) requiring compensation to landowners for their drilling rights if the Delaware River Basin Commission adopts a ban on on fracking.

But after nearly 2 hours of debate, no final vote was taken.  The House reconvened and adjourned May 15 also without taking a final vote on the bill and will not return to voting session until June 3.

On Thursday at a summit meeting of governors in the Delaware Watershed, Gov. Wolf said he supports a full ban on fracking in the Delaware River Watershed, including transferring water into and out of the basin.

In Pennsylvania, the proposed DRBC ban would affect all or parts of Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Schuylkill and Wayne counties.

Rep. Jonathan Fritz (R-Wayne), prime sponsor of the bill, said the legislation would cost a minimum of $10 billion.

The Senate sponsor of similar legislation-- Senate Bill 305-- referenced a 2011 University of Delaware study which found the mean value of potentially recoverable natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation in the Delaware River Basin is projected to be $30.4 billion, but it could be as high as $52 billion (page 91).

Since 1988, Pennsylvania has been responsible for 25 percent of the Delaware River Basin Commission’s budget.  No funding is provided in the bill for Pennsylvania’s share of this cost to state taxpayers.

Opposition by members of the Senate and House to a proposed oil and gas fracking ban in the Delaware River Watershed goes back to an action taken by the Delaware River Basin Commission in 2009 to impose a moratorium on new natural gas wells until DRBC could adopt requirements to regulate drilling.

In December 2017, DRBC formally proposed draft amendments to its regulations and a plan to prohibit high volume hydraulic fracturing in the watershed and held extensive hearings on the proposal.

In April 2018, DRBC posted all the comments it received on the proposal, but has not yet set a timetable for finalizing the proposal.

Click Here for background on the proposal.

Related Stories This Week:

At Delaware River Governors' Summit, Gov. Wolf Announces His Support For A Full Ban On Fracking In The Delaware Watershed

DEP Orders Energy Transfer To Restore Waterways Impacted During Construction Of Revolution Pipeline In 4 Counties

New Study Tracks Liquid, Solid Waste From Conventional, Unconventional Oil & Gas Development In PA From Generation To Disposal

PA Supreme Court Upholds Decision Allowing Drill In All Districts Under A Local Zoning Ordinance As Long As They Meet Standards

Muhlenberg Public Health Poll: 51% Say Climate Change Poses Major Risk To Public Health In PA, Radon 43%, Fracking 38%

Related Stories:

Presenters Urge House Committee To Support Bill Compensating Landowners For Drilling Rights If DRBC Adopts A Fracking Ban

House Committee Hears Testimony On Delaware, Susquehanna River Basin Commissions

Bill Introduced Again To Require Drilling Rights Compensation If DRBC Adopts Fracking Ban

[Posted: May 15, 2019]


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