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NJ governor backs regional fracking ban

07 Feb 2018 19:51 GMT
NJ governor backs regional fracking ban

Houston, 7 February (Argus) — New Jersey governor Phil Murphy (D) said he supports a ban on high volume hydraulic fracturing in the Delaware River Basin, joining the governors of Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware in backing the initiative.

The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), a regional body that manages the river system and includes the four basin state governors, proposed the ban in September 2017 in order to conserve and protect the basin's water resources.

The ban would apply to high-volume fracturing only, which typically refers to treatments that involve more than 80,000 USG of water and are used for formations that have very low permeability, according to the University of Colorado at Boulder. The commission has held four public hearings in Pennsylvania on the matter, with two more scheduled.

Under former governor Chris Christie (R) New Jersey had abstained from the ban vote, the only river basin state to withhold support for the proposed changes. Murphy replaced Christie as governor last month.

Murphy said fracturing "should not have a role in the energy future of New Jersey."

A fracturing ban in the rest of the state is likely unnecessary, as New Jersey has no fossil energy reserves, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

New Jersey currently depends on natural gas and nuclear power for most of its in-state electricity generation, according to the EIA. Exelon last week announced it would shut the 645MW Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in Forked River, New Jersey, in October, more than a year ahead of schedule.

Murphy has indicated support for expanding renewable energy programs, and last week signed an executive order aimed at increasing offshore wind generation.

The Delaware river extends 300 miles (483km) from Hancock, New York, to the mouth of the Delaware bay.