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DRBC To Hold Another Public Hearing On XTO Energy's Proposed Water Withdrawal
Comment Period Extended Until Yet-To-Be Determined Hearing Date

For Immediate Release

May 12, 2011

(WEST TRENTON, N.J.) -- The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) at its May 11, 2011 business meeting unanimously decided to keep the comment period on the XTO Energy draft docket open until the DRBC holds another public hearing in the vicinity of Broome County, N.Y. within the next 30 days. Specific details on the date, time, and location of the hearing will be released as soon as they are finalized.

This action by the Commissioners followed the public hearing held during yesterday’s meeting, where 39 persons testified on the draft docket. Many of those who testified requested another hearing and a comment period extension. In addition, the DRBC has received more than 7,900 comments on the draft docket.

XTO Energy is requesting to withdraw up to 250,000 gallons per day of surface water from Oquaga Creek in the Town of Sanford in Broome County to support the company’s planned natural gas exploration and production activities within the Delaware River Basin in Broome and Delaware counties in N.Y. Oquaga Creek drains to the West Branch Delaware River.

The draft docket prepared by DRBC staff in response to XTO Energy’s application stipulates that even if the docket is issued, the company cannot withdraw any water at the site until it receives separate approvals from DRBC and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) for those natural gas wells intended to receive the water.

On May 5, 2010, the Commissioners directed DRBC staff to draft regulations for natural gas well pad projects in shale formations in the basin. The Commissioners indicated that they will not consider specific natural gas well pad applications until after the regulations are approved by the Commission. Draft regulations were published in December 2010 and the input received during the public comment period that concluded on April 15, 2011 is now being reviewed and considered by the DRBC. 

The Commissioners also announced in May 2010 that water withdrawal applications associated with natural gas well pad activities within the basin such as the one submitted by XTO Energy should continue to be processed in accordance with existing DRBC regulations since they are similar to water withdrawal applications for other uses in the basin.

Written comments on the proposed draft docket should include “XTO Energy” in the subject line and may be submitted by e-mail to Paula.Schmitt@drbc.state.nj.us or by mail to Commission Secretary, DRBC, P.O. Box 7360, 25 State Police Drive, West Trenton, NJ 08628-0360. Please include the name, address, and affiliation (if any) of the commenter. The draft XTO Energy water withdrawal docket can be viewed on the Commission’s web site at www.drbc.net.

The DRBC is a federal/interstate government agency responsible for managing the water resources within the 13,539 square-mile Delaware River Basin without regard to political boundaries. The five Commission members are the Governors of the basin states (Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania) and the Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ North Atlantic Division, who represents the federal government. 2011 marks the Commission’s 50th anniversary.


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