The Delaware River Basin Commission, created in 1961 by New York and three other states and the federal government, is responsible for rules governing the natural gas-extraction process known as fracking. New York sued federal agencies in May 2011 to force a fuller assessment of the environmental impact that gas development could have its water supply.New York, and the other states gave up their individual authority to regulate water conditions in the Delaware River to a collective organization of all the states (with a little federal assistance thrown in) so that the Delaware River Basin could be regulated as a whole. Now, New York want to sue for stricter regulations on fracking on it's own land, ignoring the decisions of the Commission.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra Levy argued today in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, that the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal parties sued by the state don’t have control over how the commission regulates fracking.
“The federal defendants didn’t cause the rules to be proposed and can’t stop them from being issued,” Levy said. She also told U.S. District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis that the DRBC doesn’t have to comply with U.S. laws that require a fuller environmental review because it isn’t a federal agency.
The state wants freedom from making the decisions when it wants them, and the right to go against the commission when it disagrees. If they feel that strongly, why not simply withdraw from the DRBC?
In other fracking news: Some fracking critics use bad science, experts say
Critics of fracking often raise alarms about groundwater pollution, air pollution, and cancer risks, and there are still many uncertainties. But some of the claims have little — or nothing— to back them.
One of the clearest examples of a misleading claim comes from north Texas, where gas drilling began in the Barnett Shale about 10 years ago.
Opponents of fracking say breast cancer rates have spiked exactly where intensive drilling is taking place — and nowhere else in the state. The claim is used in a letter that was sent to New York's Gov. Andrew Cuomo by environmental groups and by Josh Fox, the Oscar-nominated director of "Gasland," a film that criticizes the industry. Fox, who lives in Brooklyn, has a new short film called "The Sky is Pink."
But researchers haven't seen a spike in breast cancer rates in the area, said Simon Craddock Lee, a professor of medical anthropology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas...
Critics of fracking also repeat claims of extreme air pollution threats, even as evidence mounts that the natural gas boom is in some ways contributing to cleaner air.
Marcellus air pollution "will cause a massive public health crisis," claims a section of the Marcellus Shale Protest website.
Yet data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration show that the shale gas boom is helping to turn many large power plants away from coal, which emits far more pollution. And the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency passed new rules to force drillers to limit releases of methane from wells and pumping stations...
One expert said there's an actual psychological process at work that sometimes blinds people to science, on the fracking debate and many others.
"You can literally put facts in front of people, and they will just ignore them," said Mark Lubell, the director of the Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior at the University of California, Davis.