PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. — Gov. Phil Murphy said Thursday that New Jersey is joining Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania in support of a regional ban on hydraulic fracturing.
Murphy, a Democrat, announced the decision on the banks of the Delaware River in Phillipsburg.
“Fracking should not have a role in the energy future of New Jersey,” Murphy said.
The decision comes after the Delaware River Basin Commission, a regional regulatory body that also includes the federal government, voted last year to begin considering a ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. New Jersey under former Republican Gov. Chris Christie abstained from the vote.
The Delaware watershed supplies Philadelphia and half of New York City with drinking water.
Murphy also sent a letter to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, also a Democrat, saying that New Jersey would not allow “dangerous exploratory activities.”
Fracking is a technique that uses huge volumes of pressurized water, along with sand and chemicals, to crack open gas-bearing shale rock deep underground. Its environmental and health impacts remain hotly disputed.
The proposed ban would apply to two counties in Pennsylvania’s northeastern tip that are part of the nation’s largest gas field, the Marcellus Shale. More than 10,000 Marcellus wells have been drilled in other parts of Pennsylvania since a natural gas boom began nearly 10 years ago, but the industry has been prevented from developing its acreage in the Delaware watershed.
Neighboring New York already has a statewide drilling ban and New Jersey does not currently have any fracking underway.