The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) will hold a hearing today in Deposit, NY to consider an application from XTO Energy to withdraw up to .25 million gallons of water per day from the Oquaga Creek in the Town of Sanford, NY. The water withdrawals are to support XTO’s drilling activities—both exploration and production—in Broome and Delaware Counties (NY). Bear in mind drilling has not yet begun in New York, and further, the DRBC has not yet released drilling guidelines for the area they oversee which includes parts of the Marcellus Shale region in both New York and Pennsylvania.
If the DRBC approves the water withdrawal, that is a good first step for those who support drilling, and (perhaps) a signal that the DRBC will allow drilling to commence soon in Pennsylvania in those areas it controls. (The DRBC has not allowed any drilling in the Marcellus areas under its jurisdiction in PA.)
For more details about today’s DRBC hearing in Deposit, visit this web page: //www.state.nj.us/drbc/XTOEnergy.htm. MDN has embedded the hearing docket below that contains the particulars of XTO’s application to the DRBC.
The following email notification about today’s meeting was received by MDN last evening from the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York (JLCNY).
In an attempt to stop Marcellus Shale drilling in New York by using the court system, NY Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced on Tuesday that he is suing the federal government “to commit to a full environmental review of proposed regulations that would allow natural gas drilling – including the potentially harmful "fracking" technique – in the Delaware River Basin.” AG Schneiderman made his initial threat last month (see MDN’s coverage here). The AG’s announcement seems timed to coincide with a hearing set for today by the Delaware River Basin Commission to consider an application to withdraw water for drilling purposes.
The press statement from the AG’s office (full text below) contains unsubstantiated allegations that fracking poses risks and threats to the environment—the same recitation of inaccurate claims we’ve heard time and again from those who seek an outright ban on gas drilling. It also presumes it is the federal government’s role to regulate drilling—which under current law, it is not. Those who oppose drilling seek to regulate it using the “back door” of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other federal laws. This lawsuit seeks to push a federal takeover of drilling by regulating and controlling it at the federal level.
Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson made a passing reference to natural gas and hydraulic fracturing at a Congressional hearing last week. Both anti- and pro-drilling supporters felt she leaned in their respective direction. Here is what has been reported about her comments:
The Antero Resources board of directors approved a $126 million increase in the company’s capital budget for 2011. Antero’s revised capital budget for 2011 is $685 million and includes $519 million for drilling and completion, $86 million for the construction of gathering pipelines and facilities and $80 million for leasehold acquisitions. The budget was revised to fund increased drilling in core areas in the Marcellus and Piceance, the expansion of gathering infrastructure in the Marcellus and the acquisition of additional leasehold opportunities in Antero’s core area in the Marcellus. The $126 million increase was allocated 53% to drilling, 35% to gathering pipeline expansion and 12% to leasehold.