Natural gas drilling probably would not have started any time soon in Bucks and Montgomery counties, even if Governor Corbett’s new budget had not imposed a six-year moratorium in the South Newark Basin. That’s a geological formation which includes all or most of Bucks County and part of Montgomery County and extends into New Jersey and New York.
The area was already under a moratorium imposed by the Delaware River Basin Commission, the agency that oversees water issues in the four-state area that drains into the Delaware. Natural gas companies have known of deposits under Nockamixon and Durham townships in Upper Bucks County for decades, and a test well drilled in 1985 found some, but not enough to be profitable. Now new methods have given would-be drillers new interest, but no power tools will go into the ground until a long process has been completed.