Oppose XTO/Exxon’s Massive Water Withdrawal from the Upper Delaware!

XTO Energy wants to take 250,000 gallons of water per day from Oquaga Creek, a trout stream that flows to the West Branch of the Delaware River, to develop gas wells they plan to drill there. Such water depletion would tragically alter the Upper Delaware watershed region. Please sign the Delaware Riverkeepers letter to voice your opposition before the June 1 hearing in Deposit, NY. Go to:

http://www.delawareriverkeeper.org/act-now/urgent-details.aspx?Id=74

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network seeks to protect the Delaware River. They want to see a comprehensive environmental impact study to examine how natural gas development will impact the water resources and natural assets of the Delaware River Watershed prior to any permits for gas related projects and before any gas regulations are adopted. Riverkeepers maintain that these studies, some of them now ongoing, need to inform regulations so that pollution can be prevented and degradation of the River and its Watershed avoided.

Here is a draft of their letter. Feel free to write your own. Studies show that hard copy letters from individuals constituents carry the most weight with policy-makers.

Carol Collier, Executive Director
Commission Members
Delaware River Basin Commission
P.O. BOX 7360
West Trenton, NJ 08628-0360
paula.schmitt@drbc.state.nj.us

Re: XTO Energy, Inc., D-2010-022-1

I oppose the approval of XTO Energy’s (ExxonMobil Corp.) application for a water withdrawal of 0.25 million gallons of water per day from the Oquaga Creek in Broome County, NY for gas drilling in Broome and Delaware Counties.  I ask that you deny this permit request.

The DRBC is analyzing the impacts of gas drilling and has a drilling moratorium in place while developing gas regulations that could affect this withdrawal proposal; New York Department of Environmental Conservation is in the midst of conducting an environmental review of the gas development practices that this water would be used for.  A comprehensive environmental study, including near term and cumulative impacts of gas development on the Delaware River’s resources, needs yet to be done. It is untimely and irresponsible to approve this withdrawal while these deliberations are ongoing.

The people in Broome and Delaware Counties have an undeniable stake in this creek, its watershed and the region.  This withdrawal and the drilling it will support will indelibly change that area and it will impact everyone downstream, including the 15 million people who ultimately rely on the Delaware River for drinking water.  While it is right that you extended the comment period, it is still not enough time—it should be extended to 90 days.  And public hearings need to be held throughout the Basin so that all populations affected can participate fully. 

The fresh water flows of this vibrant creek provide essential habitat for trout and other special species and the watershed provides groundwater supplies that could be impacted by this depletive withdrawal. The Oquaga is an important recreational resource and feeds healthy cold water flows to the West Branch and main stem Delaware, supporting the exceptional water quality of the Delaware River. Who says gas drilling is more important?

I respectfully request that this permit not be approved, that comprehensive environmental studies be done, that the Oquaga Creek be protected, that no gas related projects be allowed to proceed so that the moratorium remains in place on gas drilling in the Delaware River Watershed.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

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