Carol Collier, longtime Executive Director of the Delaware River Basin Commission has announced she will be retiring come March 2014 and she has a lot on her to-do list.
One thing Collier hopes to accomplish in the next six months is “defining a strategy for natural gas in the basin.”
Collier addressed those present at a business meeting of the commission today.
“I have served as executive director for 15 years and believe that is long enough for the good of the person and the position,” she said. “It has truly been an honor to serve the basin community.”
Collier was appointed in August 1998 and was the first woman to lead the interstate agency, according to a press release on her announcement. Under her watch, the commission’s role in regulating Marcellus Shale development in the areas along the Delaware has come under fierce public scrutiny. Fracking there has been on hold since 2010 when the five commissioners voted to delay a decision until they adopt new regulations.
But just what does Collier mean by “developing a strategy?” That’s the question groups on both sides of the drilling debate in the Delaware River Basin are asking.
Delaware Riverkeeper Maya Van Rossum hopes it’s not an indication of the commission’s intention to allow drilling within the basin.
“That would be a very sad legacy for Carol Collier if a strategy is anything short of continuing the moratorium of shale gas development in perpetuity,” Van Rossum said.
Landowners with the Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance who have been pushing the commission to make a decision by writing letters to Collier and even threatening to sue the DRBC, are focusing on the positive.
Spokesman Peter Wynne finds it “very encouraging,” but, said he’s not sure what Collier’s intentions are.
“What is a strategy for natural gas? The strategy could be ‘no natural gas.’ That word is deliciously ambiguous.”