As April 15 wound down, the last thing some federal officials were thinking about was tax day. In New Jersey, at least, they were still reeling from accepting delivery on seven boxes containing 30,000 public comments from people opposed to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, near the Delaware River, the Associated Press reported.
They came to the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) from residents of New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware and were preceded by 7,600 electronic comments as well, DRBC spokesman Clarke Rupert told the wire service.
This is near the Marcella Shale, which stretches from western New York through Pennsylvania and is ripe for the practice of injecting a noxious cocktail of chemicals, water and sand into cracks in the rock to break it up, the better to extract natural gas. Opponents of the practice have been very vocal all around the mid-Atlantic states. The Onondaga Tribe of western New York state stands to be affected by this practice.
Buffalo has banned fracking entirely, and New York State has issued a moratorium through 2012. Protesters rallied on the steps of the state Capitol on April 11 just to bring the point home to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The AP said the DRBC imposed a moratorium on drilling in its part of the massive underground Marcellus Shale formation while it establishes regulations for the natural gas drilling industry. Energy companies have leased thousands of acres of land in the Delaware River basin hoping to tap vast stores of natural gas in the rock formation.