Delaware • New Jersey • Pennsylvania
New York • United States of America
For Immediate Release
May 18, 2011
(WEST TRENTON, N.J.) – Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) Executive Director Carol R. Collier today announced that a second hearing will be held on Wednesday, June 1, 2011 to give the public another opportunity to provide feedback on XTO Energy’s proposed water withdrawal draft docket. Written comments on this proposal must be received on or before June 1.
The public hearing will take place at the Deposit High School Auditorium, 171 Second Street, Deposit, N.Y. from 4:45 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. An informational meeting, which will open with a brief overview presentation on the draft docket by commission staff to be followed with an informal question and answer period, will be held at 3:45 p.m. for the hour preceding the hearing.
Registration for those who wish to testify at the hearing will begin at 3:30 p.m. when the doors open. There will be no inside access to the school building prior to 3:30 p.m. Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Because a large number of individuals are expected to register to speak, commenters will be limited to two minutes each. It is estimated that approximately 120 speakers can be heard within the allotted time period. Oral testimony may be supplemented with written comments submitted at the hearing or provided to the commission on or before June 1. Oral and written comments will receive the same consideration by the commissioners prior to any action on the proposal.
Government representatives who wish to comment in their official capacities may present their two-minute oral testimony at the beginning of the hearing, provided that they register in advance by phoning Paula Schmitt at (609) 883-9500 x224 before 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 31.
During the public hearing held at the commission’s May 11, 2011 business meeting, 39 persons testified on the draft XTO docket. Many of these commenters requested that another hearing be held in the vicinity of the proposed water withdrawal and that the written comment period be extended. The commissioners granted both requests, announcing that the comment period on the draft docket will remain open until the close of a second public hearing to be held in the vicinity of Broome County, N.Y. To date, the DRBC has received more than 8,700 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 unless and 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.
Written comments on the proposed draft docket must include “XTO Energy” in the subject line. Written comments may be submitted by hand at the June 1 hearing; by e-mail to Paula.Schmitt@drbc.state.nj.us; by U.S. Mail to Commission Secretary, DRBC, P.O. Box 7360, West Trenton, NJ 08628-0360; or by private delivery service or hand delivery to Commission Secretary, DRBC, 25 State Police Drive, West Trenton, NJ 08628-0360. Please include the name, address, and affiliation (if any) of the commenter. All written comments must be received on or before June 1, 2011. 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.