N.J. prods Delaware River panel on fracking vote

New Jersey is using money to urge the Delaware River Basin Commission to adopt rules for natural gas fracking at its next meeting in September.

New Jersey’s representative on the commission said the state might withhold funding for the DRBC unless it acts on the proposed rules.

New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel said Friday that’s outrageous.

“That’s a form of blackmail. The reason he wants the rules voted on is because they want to lift the moratorium and start drilling,” Tittel said.

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Larry Ragonese, state Department of Environmental Protection spokesman, countered that Tittel’s assertion is ridculous.

“The No. 1 priority for us when it comes to hydraulic fracturing is the quality of the water and the natural resources in the Delaware River Basin,” he said.

Ragonese said N.J. officials have proposed a pilot program in the Delaware Basin to determine the impact of fracking. Environmentalists are concerned the chemicals used in the process will threaten the water supply for about 3 million New Jersey residents and millions more in neighboring states.

“There’s hundreds of different toxic chemicals that are used in that fracking water and our concern is that water coming down the Delaware River from Pennsylvania and New Jersey is going to pollute our water supply intakes,” Tittel said

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