Energy. Environment. Economy.

Krancer Calls Delaware’s Stance on Drilling “Political”

Scott Detrow / StateImpact Pennsylvania

DEP Secretary Michael Krancer.

Pennsylvania’s top environmental regulator is not just taking the EPA to task, he’s also got some choice words for Delaware officials. Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer blames the state of Delaware for holding up gas drilling in the northeastern part of Pennsylvania, where the Delaware River Basin Commission has imposed a moratorium.

Delaware, along with Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and the federal government all hold a seat on the Delaware River Basin Commission. The commission says gas drilling cannot begin within the river basin until the commissioners agree on new regulations. But the decision on those proposed rules has stalled, partly due to Delaware’s concerns about the environmental impacts of drilling. Pennsylvania has pushed the DRBC to open up Wayne and Pike counties to gas drilling. Secretary Krancer calls the delay “100 percent unadulterated political.” He says Delaware has no reason to worry about water quality.

“If you look at the map, you’ll see that Delaware draws zero water, for drinking water, from the Delaware River,” Krancer told StateImpact.

Krancer is referring to Delaware’s intakes along the Christiana River. Although the Christiana, as a tributary, is part of the Delaware River watershed, and feeds into the main branch of the river, no fracking, or gas drilling, occurs upriver from Delaware’s intake points.

“So when you peel back the onion,” says Krancer.  ”You see that it’s 100-percent political, in terms of Delaware.”

But Krancer’s equivalent in the First State, the head of Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, says both New Jersey and New York are just as cautious as Delaware, when it comes to drilling. DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara says it’s Pennsylvania that’s acting out against the wishes of the other members on the Commission.

“All other states disagree with Pennsylvania,” says O’Mara. “They all agree that we should have a science based, rigorous regulatory regime because the consequences of failing to do it well could be devastating for years to come.”

O’Mara calls Pennsylvania’s gas drilling regulations “cavalier.” New Jersey does not lie above any significant shale deposits, so no drilling is planned in that state. New York has its own moratorium in place while it works on establishing its own regulations. O’Mara says in the meantime, New York wants the DRBC to delay voting on any gas drilling proposals.

“Protecting public health and insuring clean water is not a political issue,” says O’Mara.

O’Mara says the consensus among commissioners is that a more rigorous regulatory framework should be in place, than the one that currently exists in Pennsylvania.


  • David Meiser

    Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle…..
    Thought his job was to PROTECT the environment not promote drilling!And the withholding of the funding for the DRBC until they approve drilling regulations isn’t?

  • Karen Feridun

    Gee, Secretary Krancer, what’s it like to have no soul?

  • NorthernTier

    It’s simplistic to conlude that – because New Castle County, DE residents don’t drink the water – Delaware has no valid interest in the condition of the Delaware River.  If Sec. Krancer would look at that map south of Wilmington, he’d see the C&D Canal (to the Chesapeake Bay) and miles of coastline.   

    The Delaware coastline was protected from heavy industry by The Coastal Zone Act of 1971.  It was championed by Gov. Russell Peterson (a Republican), who lost his bid for a second term.  But since the law is still in effect [ ], apparently DE citizens came around to believing it had been the right thing for Delaware.  

    • Sally

      Delaware’s multibillion dollar crabbing industry, fisheries, seashore resorts, etc., all could be negatively impacted by this.
      Water doesn’t always flow downstream.  There are such things as temperature driven currents at different levels of water flow.  During droughts, water tends to flow from the estuaries toward more inland points.   Also, winds can drive toxic chemicals and oils from the surface of the Delaware Bay toward land and water in Delaware.
      The Delaware River is a territorial sea of the State, from the northern boundary
      with Pennsylvania, to the New Jersey shoreline, quite far downstream.  For Pennsylvania to pollute these waters would be a territorial trespass.

  • jnln

    Krancer needs to resign.  He is not promoting the mission of the DEP “to protect Pennsylvania’s land, air and water from pollution and to provide for the health and safety of it’s citizens through a cleaner environment.”  Krancer is obviously more concerned with protecting the oil & gas industry.  Michael Krancer has got to go!

    • CEC

      Krancer is a hero here in North East PA & should be promoted to EPA chief as a result of attempting to break this log jam!! 

  • Shratter

    It is about time for Corbett, the Pa. Legislature and our supposed highest environmental officer to admit loud and clear that they do not care about a responsible drilling industry in Pa. How foolish if this is ignored at election time.

    • Sally

      Corbett needs to resign before things catch up with him.

  • John Trallo

    Of course Krancer will say this is political. After all, his daddy spent… I mean ‘donated’ $230,000 to Corbett’s campaign to secure that job, not to mention the $7,525 that Krancer ‘donated’, or the $25,000 that daddy ‘donated’ to the republican party the day before he was appointed DEP Secretary. It’s what they call “Pay to Play”. .

  • Liz Rosenbaum

    The Secretary should show more dignity. Historically, appointed officials should rise above the political fray and serve all citizens yet Krancer seems to devote himself to gas propaganda. Meanwhile, he’s doing a lousy job protecting our environment. 

  • whatamess777

    Krancer needs to be tared and featherd. Who let this fox into the henhouse?

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