Energy. Environment. Economy.

Water utility executive tapped to lead Delaware River Basin Commission

A view of the Delaware River from Bucks County, Pa.

Mary Cummings Jordan / WHYY

A view of the Delaware River from Bucks County, Pa.

The multi-state agency that manages water in the Delaware River Basin has tapped a Pennsylvania American Water executive to be its new leader.

Steve Tambini will become the Delaware River Basin Commission‘s fourth executive director.

While the commission’s jobs include managing water quality, water withdrawals and flood mitigation, one of its most salient responsibilities in the last five years has been to come up with regulations for natural gas drilling in the basin. That’s something the commissioners - the governors of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware and the federal government – are still struggling to agree upon.

“We are pleased to welcome Steve Tambini as the DRBC Executive Director,” said Commission Chair Pro Tem Michele Siekerka, who represents New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, in a statement. “Steve’s background and experiences are sure to be of great benefit to the ongoing work of the commission.”

Tambini has had a long career with American Water, a major North American water and sewer utility, working previously in Missouri and New Jersey. He currently serves as Vice President for the company’s Pennsylvania operations.

Tambini also serves as a board member of the Water Resources Association of the Delaware River Basin, a nonprofit group of businesses and utilities with water management interests in the basin.

Gas drilling has been on hold in the Delaware watershed since 2009 when as executive director, Carol Collier issued an order that all natural gas production would need to be reviewed by the commission. The ongoing stalemate has frustrated Governor Tom Corbett, as well as landowners who were eager to lease with drilling companies. Environmental groups are happy to see the moratorium on drilling stay.

Seth Gladstone with Food and Water Watch called Tambini’s appointment “suspicious and disconcerting.” Pennsylvania American Water is an associate member of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, the state’s major gas industry trade group.

Tambini did not respond to an e-mail request for comment. In a written statement released by the DRBC, Tambini wrote that he will not make further public statements or conduct DRBC business until he assumes his duties on Aug. 1, 2014.

“For the past 30 years, my professional life has been dedicated to water,” Tambini wrote. “I believe my career experiences, water resources knowledge, leadership skills, and core values will serve me well as I continue the excellent work of those who preceded me in meeting the DRBC’s present and future challenges.”

A DRBC spokesman said Tambini will not be present at a meeting on Wednesday when the five commissioners formally approve his post. The DRBC’s Chief Administrative Officer Richard Gore will also be named acting executive director. He will replace Carol Collier, who is set to retire on Wednesday after 15 years.


  • George Wythe

    Very happy to see Collier gone!

  • paulroden

    Careful of what you wish for. We could end up with someone worse than Collier, who I didn’t think was so bad. It is up to us to press the issue to ban fracking once and for all.

    • George Wythe

      Banning people who are against ‘fracking’ is our BEST move ! Fracking is NOT a danger to water or air, and will help our energy as much as possible.

  • paulroden

    people who are against ‘fracking’ is our BEST move ! Fracking is NOT a danger to
    water or air, and will help our energy as much as possible.

    a.m., Tuesday March 11
    I thought this was a democracy and that was a civil space to discuss the issue of fracking. I have not seen any news story, scientific study or book that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that fracking is safe, economic and necessary for our energy needs. Where is your proof? Have you read anything on this website, the “Drilling Down” series in the New York Times, the articles in the Energy Policy Journal, the Journal of Power Sources or anywhere else that supports your thesis? The burden of proof should be on the industry. And from what I have read and seen their record is atrocious. There should at least be a moratorium until they can prove that it is safe and can be done safely.

    • George Wythe

      Drilling the Marcellus shale has been done safely, more so every time.
      PA has drilled these wells for more than 10 years now, WITHOUT any serious, irreparable problems. There is plenty of land in Wayne & Pike county that needs gas wells to be developed, and the people who OWN that land should have every right to make those choices!

  • Alexander Lotorto

    I’ll say it here, but if drilling in the upper Delaware is going to start up again, they better make sure I’m dead, disappeared, or in prison before trying. We’ll see how they fare when the Milford Compressor Station is due in August.

    • George Wythe

      Still the moron you were at the Tennessee 300 BS you started huh? You didn’t stop anything, except where you were trespassing did you? That pipeline is in and is working well, and the judge told you where you were to stay. So glad were rid of Collier, maybe next we can get rid of true dimwits like you!

  • paulroden

    George Wythe, You still say that fracking has been done safely, but you offer no proof.
    Have you read a study in the Environmental Science and Technology Journal, a peered reviewed scientific journal published by the American Chemical Society, entitled:

    Potential Public Health Hazards, Exposures and Health Effects from

    Unconventional Natural Gas Development

    John L. Adgate,*,† Bernard D. Goldstein,‡ and Lisa M. McKenzie? No one has studied the impact of the radioactive radon in this natural gas on human health. No one knows the where the water is going to be stored. There has been earthquakes caused by deep well injection of the fracking waste water and now earthquakes have occurred in Ohio, causing well drilling in that area to be stopped. Subject: [ACTNET-FRAC-NEWS] 2 earthquakes in Ohio halt frackers near Poland, Ohio

    Published: Mon, March 10, 2014 @ 3:19 p.m.

    POLAND — The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has ordered Hilcorp to halt all operations in Poland Township after two earthquakes shook the area today.

    The first occurred at 2:26 a.m. at 40.017 N, 80.537 W at a depth of 1.2 miles in Lowellville, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. USGS initially recorded that quake at a magnitude of 2.8, but later updated it to a 3.0 magnitude.

    The epicenter was directly below property owned by Republic Services’ Carbon Limestone Landfill, where Hilcorp Energy Co. has one well actively producing and a number of others being drilled.

    The second occurred at 11:44 a.m., to the southeast of the first epicenter in Lowellville, registering at a 2.6 magnitude.

    There are no injection wells in the area.

    Both sites are near laterals extending from hydraulic fracturing wells.

    - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -
    This email list is associated with the Hydrofracking Team on the Sierra Club’s Activist Network.
    Join the Hydrofracking Team at
    Where are your facts coming from? State your sources. There is no need for name calling or putting people down because you disagree with them. We will not be intimidated!

    • George Wythe

      I have no intention of intimidating you, just seeing your Sierra Club’s foolishness ignored, completely, along with any who support it.
      Earthquakes in Ohio are in underground waste wells, they are not fracked, although they may have had used frack water injected to dispose it. Personally I think that the drilling water should be recycled and reused, not injected. Many do recycle and more will start recycling.

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