The Wayne Land and Mineral Group, LLC (WLMG) wishes to begin a fracking operation on property it owns in the Delaware River Basin. Fortunately, they’ve run into some trouble. The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) has prevented the WLGM’s operation because, according to Section 3.8 of their Compact, the DRBC must review any “project having a substantial effect on the water resources of the basin,” even if the project is to take place on private property. In response, the WLMG filed a lawsuit on May 17, 2016, which essentially takes issue with the language in Section 3.8.
The claim is that the DRBC’s interpretation of the term “projects” is vague enough to encompass (and thus regulate) virtually any human activity it wants within the confines of the basin. And so, the argument goes, the DRBC is overstepping its legitimate authority in order to pursue a political agenda. In particular, the lawsuit alleges that the DRBC’s regulation of the WLMG’s fracking project is an attempt “to placate those State governments and special interest groups opposed to natural gas development.”
Environmentalists know that such opposition to natural gas development is well justified. A recent study by the Yale School of Public Health has concluded that carcinogenic chemicals involved in the fracking process can infiltrate surrounding communities’ air and water supplies, increasing the risk of childhood leukemia.
It’s imperative that the Court upholds the DRBC’s authority to regulate the WLMG’s fracking project. For the sake of the people, animals, and plant life that depend the Delaware River Basin’s health, we must ensure that fracking operations are prohibited.
For more information: