Feds to Hinchey: No time-out on Delaware Basin drilling

In the New York Times yesterday (via Greenwire): Congressman Maurice Hinchey pressed the Obama administration, via its representative on the Delaware River Basin Commission, to halt Marcellus gas drilling in New York and Pennsylvania until his proposed $1 million study of drilling's cumulative impacts on the river basin can be done. But to no avail:

Brig. Gen. Peter "Duke" DeLuca, commander of the North Atlantic Division of the Army Corps of Engineers, last week declined a request from Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) to use the federal government's vote on the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) to seek a temporary ban on gas production in the Delaware watershed.

Hinchey wants drilling there to wait until the commission completes a "cumulative impact statement," but DeLuca said that could delay drilling for years.

The Army Corps' Lt. Col. Philip Secrist, who votes on the DRBC board, reminded the Commission recently at whose pleasure he serves:

At the Sept. 15 meeting, the corps' Secrist pointedly noted that he was "representing President Obama" on the commission.

The story also quotes a familiar local voice: Jill Wiener of Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy.