DRBC: Calls for Studies Will Not Delay Drilling Rules

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On October 6, Executive Director of the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), Carol Collier, announced that new draft rules for proposed oil and gas drilling in the Delaware River Basin would be issued for public review in the next two weeks. Speaking at the Appalachian Producer Issues Seminar in New Paltz, New York regarding the DRBC's ongoing efforts to draft rules, Executive Director Collier stated that further proposed studies of oil and gas industry drilling practices, such as those being undertaken by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, would not delay issuance of the proposed rules or their eventual implementation by the DRBC.

Executive Director Collier gave a short preview of the proposed substance of the rules, which will likely prohibit oil and gas exploration, ground and surface water monitoring, and setback requirements in certain sensitive areas of the DRBC. The draft rules will also include an approval by rule process, although no specific details were given regarding the approval process and the category of activities that would be eligible for approval by rule. Executive Director Collier's comments emphasized the DRBC's ongoing concerns regarding deforestation resulting from industrial activities and its impact on headwaters. She also stated that at the current anticipated rates of development, the DRBC does not believe water use for development of oil and gas production would be a major issue of concern.

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