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Agency to take action on fracking ban near Delaware River

February 17, 2021 GMT

WEST TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A regulatory agency that’s responsible for the water supply for more than 13 million people is poised to take final action on a permanent ban on gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing in the Delaware River watershed.

The Delaware River Basin Commission announced Wednesday that it will vote on the proposal at a public meeting on Feb. 25.

The commission, which regulates water quality and quantity in the Delaware and its tributaries, first imposed a moratorium on drilling and fracking — the technique that unleashed a U.S. production boom in shale gas and oil — more than a decade ago. It began the process of enacting a permanent ban in 2017. The ban would apply to two counties in Pennsylvania’s northeastern tip that are part of the nation’s largest gas field, the Marcellus Shale.

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Republican state lawmakers in Pennsylvania as well as a landowners group are challenging the commission’s right to regulate gas development in court. The agency has representatives from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and the federal government.