Green Goals Could Hurt Coronavirus Recovery

As governors look for ways to end their coronavirus lockdowns and restart state economies, a green agenda to block efforts aimed at energy abundance and independence could hinder at least one region’s recovery.

In an Epoch Times commentary,  National Center Senior Fellow Bonner Cohen, Ph.D. profiles problems inherent in the actions taken against the development of natural gas resources through hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” Delaware River watershed regulations could make recovery “much rockier.” He also cites concerns over what seems to be undue influence by the William Penn Foundation and affiliated groups on overall land use planning.

The Delaware River watershed covers approximately 13,500 square miles and affects over 15 million people living in states including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Concerning the escalating economic concern about the region, Bonner writes:

Even before the outbreak of the… coronavirus, businesses in the region were chafing under the Delaware River Watershed Initiative (DRWI). Launched in 2014 by the Philadelphia-based William Penn Foundation, the DRWI is spearheaded by organizations funded by the foundation to “accelerate the protection of important landscapes, restoration of degraded areas, and adoption of green infrastructure and responsible farming practices.”

Funded by the William Penn Foundation to the tune of over $100 million, the DRWI has been integral in the Foundation’s goal of enacting a “watershed-wide conservation strategy” through the regulation of the land-use activities of property owners, developers, farmers and others reliant on the land for job creation and income. The Foundation has also worked with the watershed governors through its support for the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), a government agency on which they all serve.

Critics of the Foundation, such as land management company executive Tom Shepstone, claim it is “laying the groundwork to buy as much land as possible” to achieve its goals. Fracking can influence the price of land, with Shepstone calling it a “huge threat” to the Foundation’s acquisition goals. DRWI opposes fracking, and the DRBC has imposed a moratorium on fracking in two Pennsylvania counties located on the Marcellus Shale region – a land mass famous for its natural gas resources.

This prohibition on fracking and other land use options, Bonner writes, has hurt rural counties in and near the watershed. Tirzah Duren of the Commonwealth Foundation additionally warns that environmental “protections should not choke off the ability of homes and jobs to local residents.”

To read all of Bonner’s article – “Delaware River Watershed Initiative Could Slow Down Region’s Recovery From Coronavirus Lockdown” – click here.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.