The New York Times recently covered the ongoing dispute over drilling for natural gas in the Delaware River Basin, an area not only subject to the jurisdiction of state environmental agencies but also an interstate compact agency known as the Delaware River Basin Commission. At the Commission's regular September 15 meeting, the DRBC Executive Director announced that draft regulations for natural gas wells expected by "end of Summer" would be delayed until "mid-October." The Commission will not consider new production wells for approval until those regulations are adopted after a public review process.
However, at the same meeting, the Commission considered a request by opponents of natural gas development to stop construction of exploratory or "science" wells currently under way. The Executive Director's determination subjecting exploratory wells other than certain grandfathered wells to DRBC approval is the subject of a contested hearing, but that hearing may not take place until after the grandfathered wells, or several of them, are complete. On September 15, the Commission voted not to stop construction of the grandfathered wells. Until those wells are completed and analyzed, the gas production companies cannot decide whether to proceed with production wells in the area, and so if they are permitted, natural gas development can remain on track despite the "moratorium" currently in place until the Commission adopts regulations.
The request for a "supersedeas" filed by the opponents, Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, the Delaware Riverkeeper, and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network may be found here. The responses of the drilling proponents, Northern Wayne Property Owners' Alliance and Newfield Appalachia PA, LLC, may be found here and here.