On August 11, 2015, the Delaware RiverKeeper Network, a non-profit organization, released a study entitled “The Potential Environmental Impact from Fracking in the Delaware River Basin.” The study provides estimates and projections concerning the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing in the Basin where Marcellus Shale development can reasonably be expected – assuming that the active moratorium on hydraulic fracturing would be lifted.
Based on geospatial analysis and statistical modeling to determine the most probable locations for the placement of unconventional wells, researchers examined the potential effects and concerns of shale development in the Basin on environment and public health.
The study concludes by stating that if “natural gas development occurs as projected, natural gas infrastructure will become a widespread and prominent feature of the landscape in the Upper [Delaware River Basin]” while adverse effects resulting from such activity would create a broad range of issues including forest fragmentation, water withdrawal and wastewater discharge, hydrologic and water-quality changes, air emissions, and potential health impacts.
According to the researchers, this study is “intended to help decision-makers and the public understand the scale of the potential impacts.” In November 2011, the Delaware River Basin Commission issued draft regulations on natural gas development in the Basin, but their adoption has been indefinitely postponed to allow for additional review and consideration of the proposed rules.
Further information on these draft regulations is available at
Written by Chloe Marie - Research Fellow