Not a good idea
Pennsylvania is blessed with abundant water resources, and it belongs to five separate commissions that do important work across a variety of watersheds.
The state budget this year singles out only one of those commissions, the Delaware River Basin Commission, for a massive budget cut of more than 50 percent. State contributions to the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River, the Chesapeake Bay Commission and the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission will remain flat. The state contribution to the DRBC, however, will decline from $934,000 to $434,000.
The DRBC includes Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It jurisdictions includes drinking water supplies for about 8 million people.
The commission, over Pennsylvania's dissent, has put a hold on Marcellus Shale drilling in the Delaware River watershed, which caused several drillers not to renew leases in Wayne County.
If the budget cut is retaliation from the gas industry-friendly Corbett administration, that is unfortunate because the commission does good work in monitoring the watershed irrespective of the gas issue.
The state should reconsider the cut and keep the DRBC on par with the other commissions.