Fracking opponents rally at DRBC meeting in N.J.

Environmental groups want to prevent hydraulic fracturing from threatening the area’s water supplies. They’re urging the Delaware River Basin Commission to adopt strong natural-gas development rules.

Opponents of the gas-extraction process known as fracking rallied outside the DRBC meeting in West Trenton Wednesday.

While the immediate concern is protecting drinking water from fracking contamination in Pennsylvania, there’s concern about potential  future drilling in New Jersey, said Tracy Carluccio, deputy director of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network.

“In New Jersey, there’s only a small amount of shale that they consider to be gas-bearing and that is the Utica Shale,” she said. “However it’s being explored right in southern New York and it’s being explored in Pennsylvania and they think this might actually become the apple of the industry’s eye in the very near future.”

Environmentalists are hoping the New Jersey Legislature will override Gov. Chris Christie’s conditional veto of a ban on fracking. They’re not satisfied with a one-year moratorium he imposed instead.

The one-year moratorium on fracking is just not enough, said Jim Walsh of Food and Water Watch.

“We know that there are shale deposits in New Jersey and across the region that the industry is primed and ready to start fracking on,” said Walsh. “The New Jersey Legislature right now has the ability to override the governor’s veto and we hope to see them do that in the next month.”

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