Thousands Urge Cuomo to Support Full Fracking Ban in the DRB

NRDC's Rob Friedman speaking in Albany in support of a full fracking ban.
Credit: Max Oppen, EANY

Almost four years to the day that New York announced its historic fracking ban, we joined a coalition of groups to present over 100,000 petitions to Governor Andrew Cuomo urging him to support a full ban on fracking and its related activities in the Delaware River Basin. The Basin is the drinking water source for 17 million Americans and has been under threat by fracking for almost a decade.

The draft regulations put forward by the Delaware River Basin Commission last year are inadequate to protect New York and the surrounding region’s drinking water supply from the harms of fracking. While the DRBC has proposed to ban drilling in the basin, they have also proposed to open up the watershed to the treatment, storage and disposal of wastewater, and the transfer of precious freshwater out of the basin for use in fracking where it is permitted. Using our limited water to frack elsewhere sets a dangerous precedent.

The fracking process utilizes over 1,000 chemical additives, many of which are toxic and carcinogenic. Studies have found that more than 75 percent of the chemicals used in fracking are associated with adverse effects on the skin, eyes, respiratory and gastrointestinal systems; 40 percent could have effects on the brain and nervous system, immune and cardiovascular systems, the kidneys and endocrine system; and 25 percent of the toxins are associated with cancer and mutations. These toxic materials have no place in New York or anywhere in the Delaware River Basin.


Advocates from across New York and Pennsylvania deliver over 100,000 comments in support of a full fracking ban to Governor Cuomo.
Credit: Max Oppen, EANY

Wastewater from fracking may potentially impact groundwater, surface water and drinking water when wastewater is transported from one location to other locations where it will be treated and or disposed. Information on the total volumes of fracking wastewater produced is lacking, but even one spill near a sensitive water body, like the Delaware River, could have catastrophic impacts on water supplies for generations to come.

As a Commissioner of the Delaware River Basin Commission. Governor Cuomo can seize this leadership opportunity by supporting a full ban on fracking in the Delaware River Basin. Doing so would demonstrate New York’s strong environmental leadership, protect millions of people’s health from toxic wastewater, and preserve the region’s freshwater supplies for generations to come.