The Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) announced it has approved five water withdrawal permits for oil and gas operators in Pennsylvania and adopted a five-year update to the organization's comprehensive plan, it said Thursday.
SRBC approved two requests by Southwestern Energy Production Co. to withdraw water from Lycoming Creek in Lycoming County, at points in Lewis and McIntyre townships. The agency also approved a request by Chesapeake Appalachia LLC to withdraw water from the Susquehanna River in Bradford County's Athens Township; a request by Energy Corp. of America to take water from the West Branch Susquehanna River in Clearfield County's Goshen Township; and a request by Talisman Energy USA Inc. to draw from Choconut Creek in Susquehanna County's Choconut Township.
According to SRBC, a fifth operator, WPX Energy Appalachia LLC, withdrew an application to take water from Turner Lake in Susquehanna's Liberty Township.
Two applications by Talisman to draw water from Fall Brook and Fellows Creek -- which are both located in Tioga County's Ward Township -- and another by Seneca Resources Corp. to use discharge water from the Arnot No. 5 coal mine in Tioga's Bloss Township, were all tabled for further study by the SRBC at its last meeting on Dec. 12.
Although the SRBC approved changes to its 144-page comprehensive plan at the December meeting, the changes were only posted to the commission's website on Thursday.
"The unique water use profile of the unconventional natural gas industry and the rate at which this industry has grown within the basin will demand considerable attention from commission staff in the future," SRBC said in the report. "All water withdrawals and consumptive uses associated with natural gas production will continue to be thoroughly evaluated. Commission staff will continue to explore various communication strategies to regularly inform the public about the number of wells drilled and completed, quantities of water withdrawn and used, and how this activity impacts the basin."
Last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declined to list a 100-mile section of the main stem of the Susquehanna River as an impaired waterway (see Shale Daily, May 14, 2013).
SRBC -- a compact established by the federal government in 1971 and based in Harrisburg, PA -- manages the water resources of the Susquehanna River Basin, which regulates some development within the Marcellus Shale in parts of New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland. The Susquehanna River starts in Cooperstown, NY, and flows 444 miles to Havre de Grace, MD, where the river meets the Chesapeake Bay. Representatives from Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland and the Army Corps of Engineers serve as SRBC commissioners.