The Associated Press reports Republican state lawmakers in Pennsylvania are seeking to overturn a ban on gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing in the Delaware River basin.

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News [file][/caption]

The lawmakers are filing suit against the regulatory agency that oversees drinking water quality for more than 13 million people in an attempt to open up part of Northeast Pennsylvania to the controversial natural gas extraction method that involves injecting liquid under high pressure in shale and other rock formations in order to break apart the hard substrate to release gas and petroleum deposits trapped within.

Senate Republicans claim the Delaware River Basin Commission overstepped its authority with its moratorium on natural gas development near the river and its tributaries.

The senators want a federal court to invalidate the ban, potentially opening a sliver of northeastern Pennsylvania to what their suit describes as 40-billion dollars-worth of natural gas.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app

A Delaware River Basin Commission spokesperson declined comment on pending litigation.

KEEP READING: See notable new words that were coined the year you were born