ExxonMobil Drilling Plan Threatens Drinking Water In Delaware River Basin

Wed, 2011-06-01 22:44TJ Scolnick
TJ Scolnick's picture

ExxonMobil Drilling Plan Threatens Drinking Water In Delaware River Basin

The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) held a public hearing today to review a proposal from ExxonMobil subsidiary XTO Energy to remove massive amounts of water from the Delaware River Basin for unconventional gas exploration.

The dirty energy giant is hoping to withdraw up to 250,000 gallons per day of surface water from Oquaga Creek near the Farnham Road bridge crossing on Route 41 in Sanford, New York. Roughly 300 residents showed up to comment on the proposal, which has stirred public anger and concern over the potential impacts on the local environment and water supplies.
 
The Exxon subsidiary’s draft docket stipulates that the surface water will be used for unconventional gas drilling via hydraulic fracturing (a.k.a. fracking). XTO says the clean water will be used to mix cement and create a “drilling mud/fluid” cocktail. No waste problem, of course.

Beneath the Exxon PR spin, the true costs of withdrawing a quarter million gallons of water per day are estimated at around $17,700 - just for a tiny patch of land.

Consider the fact that the fracking rush is exacting these very same direct costs on many North Americans.

Recently, ExxonMobil has continued with its misleading media blitz to pacify the public’s real concerns around the dangers of unconventional gas exploration. Exxon’s misdirection appeared this month on TV and in full-page ads [pdf] in The New York Times and Washington Post. The ads falsely presented fracking for unconventional gas as a time-tested way to unlock “cleaner-burning” fuel from shale rock. The problem with Exxon’s efforts to greenwash unconventional gas is that according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [pdf] as well as a recent Cornell study, unlocking this dirty energy is perhaps just as polluting if not moreso than coal. Unconventional gas, despite what Exxon would have us believe, is just another polluting fossil fuel.

Access and review the Draft Docket, XTO Energy Surface Water Withdrawal for Natural Gas Exploration and Development Projects Oquaga Creek Withdrawal Site Town of Sanford, Broome County, New York [pdf].

Information on XTO Energy’s Surface Water Withdrawal Application.

Comments

“The dirty energy giant is hoping to withdraw up to 250,000 gallons per day of surface water from Oquaga Creek near the Farnham Road bridge crossing on Route 41 in Sanford, New York.”

This would rather depend on how high the average flowrate of Oquaga Creek is. You dont say whether it is a trickle or a major river. I suspect 250000 gallons is not a high proportion of the water that flows down the creek daily.

It does not mean i agree with what is being proposed, just that this article needs some context.

Very true, I can suggest taking a look at the DRBC wesbite to learn more.

Water volumes are not an area of expertise for me, but as part of the application, XTO says:
• Withdrawal not to result in the stream flow in the Oquaga
Creek to be below 8 CFS and cannot resume withdrawals
unless Oquaga Creek is flowing at least 8.4 CFS for a 24 hour
period (CONDITION C.o.)established at withdrawal
USGS gage at Deposit and gage point

See here: http://www.state.nj.us/drbc/XTOEnergy_hearingpres060111.pdf

All of the DRBC-XTO docs can be found here: http://www.state.nj.us/drbc/XTOEnergy.htm

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