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The White House Will Determine What Comes Next On DRBC Fracking Vote

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President Obama, at the White House

Greenwire has a good look at the critical role the Obama Administration will play in breaking the Delaware River Basin Commission’s deadlock over whether or not to proceed with new hydraulic fracturing regulations.

As the article points out, fracking along the Delaware and the controversial Keystone XL pipeline put the White House in the same tricky spot: on one hand, the administration is desperate to create jobs. On the other hand, there’s a very active, very vocal group of environmental advocates who are dead-set against both efforts.

The Obama administration controls the tie-breaking vote on a plan to begin drilling for natural gas in the Northeast, shining a spotlight on its efforts to find a middle ground on the use of hydraulic fracturing to tap deep shale rock formations for energy.

Some local environmental groups are comparing the proposal, and their efforts to block it, to the debate over the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring crude to the United States from Canada’s oil sands region. Green groups claimed a big victory earlier this month when the administration delayed a decision on that project.

The administration is holding its cards close to the vest on the drilling proposal before the Delaware River Basin Commission. The obscure but important agency has authority over development in a watershed that includes parts of four states and supplies drinking water to 5 percent of the country’s population, including Philadelphia and New York City.

Late last week, the commission called off a vote that had been planned for today on whether to approve regulations and allow drilling to start.

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