As reported by The Associated Press, energy companies Hess Corp. and Newfield Exploration Co. recently terminated their property leases in northeastern Pennsylvania, where drilling of the Marcellus Shale has been put on hold due to the ongoing creation and negotiation of environmental protection regulations by the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC). A master lease for drilling in the region was signed in 2008 between Newfield and Hess, and the Wayne Property Owners Alliance. At the time of the signing, members of the property owners group—consisting of more than 1,300 families and businesses—received $150 million upfront from the drilling companies, with another $187 million due if the gas wells had materialized.
In December 2010, the DRBC drafted and published environmental protection regulations for the watershed that were open for public comment until April 15, 2011. After reviewing these comments, the DRBC then published a revised version on November 8, 2011; however, the special meeting to consider adoption of the revised regulations has remained postponed since November 21, 2011.
At the DRBC’s July 10, 2013, business meeting, Chair Michele Siekerka released a statement regarding the drilling moratorium. In her statement, Siekerka explained how the DRBC has worked to move the shale gas drilling process forward by creating benchmark regulations and standards for the development of natural gas wells, and establishing baseline environmental conditions throughout the Basin. The DRBC is committed to “…the development of a potentially valuable energy source while protecting the vital water resource within the Basin.”
To read Siekerka’s entire statement about the drilling moratorium, go to: http://www.nj.gov/drbc/library/documents/statement-of-chair071013.pdf.
To read the full AP article, click on the following link: http://online.wsj.com/article/AP191f2ae8055d4396b07edee9356b3f31.html?KEYWORDS=energy.