Commissioners representing the states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware voted to approve the ban while the commissioner representing the federal government abstained.
“High-volume hydraulic fracturing and related activities pose significant, immediate and long-term risks to the development, conservation, utilization, management, and preservation of the water resources of the Delaware River Basin and to Special Protection Waters of the Basin, considered by the Commission to have exceptionally high scenic, recreational, ecological, and/or water supply values,” the commission said in its ruling on Thursday.
The commission also said it may draft rules to ban the import and export of water and other fluids used in fracking, a process that injects water and chemicals into oil and gas wells at high pressure to break up rock formations blocking access to wells.
The expansion of fracking throughout much of the nation has helped the United States become a net exporter of both oil and natural gas.
While industry officials claim the process is safe if done correctly, the commission said that scientific literature, studies and reports during the past decade have demonstrated that “high volume hydraulic fracturing and related activities have adversely impacted surface water and groundwater resources, including sources of drinking water, and have harmed aquatic life in some regions.”
The commission said new regulations for exports and imports of water and wastewater used to frack will be drafted in the future, if needed.