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DRBC Executive Director Approves Hess Corp. Request To Allow Two Additional Natural Gas Exploratory Wells

For Immediate Release

July 23, 2010

(WEST TRENTON, N.J.) -- Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) Executive Director Carol R. Collier today announced that she has amended her June 14, 2010 supplemental determination to allow two additional natural gas exploratory wells in Wayne County, Pa. to proceed.

Both Hess Corporation vertical exploratory wells, known as Davidson 1V and Hammond 1V, are proposed to be located in the north-northwest portion of the county. Collier already publicly announced her intention to take today’s action at last week’s July 14 commission meeting.

In June 2010, Collier modified the provisions of her original May 2009 determination to extend to exploratory wells the requirement that DRBC approval be obtained for natural gas well projects in shale formations within the drainage area of Special Protection Waters. However, Collier allowed an exploratory well to proceed if the applicant had received a state natural gas well permit for the project on or before the date of her June 14, 2010 supplemental determination announcement. The Davidson 1V and Hammond 1V wells received Pennsylvania Erosion and Sediment Control General Permits (ESCGP-1) prior to June 14, but the company’s well drilling applications already filed with the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) were still under active review by PADEP and awaiting a permitting decision on that date.

Today’s amended supplemental determination covers only the Davidson 1V and Hammond 1V exploratory wells, both of which remain subject to all applicable PADEP regulatory requirements, including state well drilling permits. The state-approved Erosion and Sediment Control General Permits provide specific information regarding siting of these exploratory wells and set forth in detail the erosion and sediment control measures to be implemented during and after their construction to protect water resources.

All other aspects of the May 2009 and June 2010 determinations remain in full effect. Exploratory wells may not be fractured or otherwise modified for natural gas production without prior DRBC approval. Commission consideration of natural gas production projects will occur after new DRBC regulations are adopted.  Draft natural gas regulations are expected to be published by the end of summer 2010, with a public rulemaking process to follow.

Any person adversely affected by this action may request a hearing by submitting a request in writing to the commission secretary within 30 days of the date of this amended supplemental determination in accordance with the DRBC’s Rules of Practice and Procedure.

The DRBC is a federal/interstate government agency responsible for managing the water resources within the 13,539 square-mile Delaware River Basin. The five commission members are the governors of the basin states (Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania) and the Division Engineer, North Atlantic Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who represents the federal government.

Additional information, including the amended supplemental determination issued today, can be found on the commission’s web site.


Contact: Clarke Rupert, DRBC, 609-883-9500 ext. 260, clarke.rupert@drbc.state.nj.us