Appalachian Basin

Nothing But A Roadblock

Dale L Teeple
Member, Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance
Host farm to the first test well in Wayne County drilled by Newfield in 2010

I received the Governor’s email last week which included his statement of disappointment with the DRBC’s decision to postpone its meeting of November 21.  This meeting was to have been the setting for the adoption of the revised regulations for natural gas drilling here in Northeast Pa.  We need to proceed with this exploration and extraction of gas as soon as possible to get jobs, energy, and economic progress into the Delaware Basin counties.

The Governor’s reaction to the postponement is well received; however, we here in Wayne County are not only disappointed with this latest ploy by the DRBC, we are angry.  We have been forced to wait for nearly two years since the DRBC, and Carol Collier in particular, put all this progress on hold while they put together a set of guidelines.  The Susquehanna River Basin Commission got its regulations together in good time and now the counties to the west of us are seeing natural gas production, jobs, and an economic boon like never before.  On the other hand, the DRBC put out a set of regulations that would make production all but impossible here, then held hearing after hearing.  Fortunately, the testimony of many of us was heard and the DRBC revised the regulations into something that is not perfect, but workable.  Now, the DRBC refuses to meet and consider these regulations for adoption.

The DRBC apparently is not interested in developing natural gas within its basin, no matter how well it is done.  These people are only interested in ‘their’ river and are trying to keep anything at all from happening, even if it involves energy independence or an economic blessing for the region. The DRBC does NOT own the river; it has been charged with managing the river according to the requirements and constraints of the Compact which formed it.  If the DRBC is not doing what it is supposed to do, then there is reason to question its further existence.  Pennsylvania has more than adequate environmental oversight in place through the DEP.  The DRBC has admitted, in the text of the revised regs, that it is not necessary to supersede the state requirements for pad and well construction.  The record of the companies involved is well above average.

All we are getting right now from the DRBC is unnecessary duplication of regulatory requirements (which the states already have adequately provided),  a relentless roadblock to any progress by their refusal to reschedule the meeting which would see the revised regulations adopted, and an attitude that says ‘we could not care less’ about landowners, jobs, economics, or energy.

We need to see that DRBC acts and does so soon so that natural gas can come from our own resources instead of from overseas.

If the DRBC will not act or cooperate, then we as landowners feel that the only course is for Pennsylvania to go forward independently.  Our involvement with the DRBC appears to be futile since the states put money into DRBC and receive nothing of value in return.  DRBC wants not only to own the river but also tell the landowners on both sides what they can and cannot do.  DRBC does not belong, nor should it have any authority, beyond the riverbank.

We need gas drilling here, and we need it now.  The gas is here, the technology to get it is proven, and we landowners are ready to go.  We know that the Governor wants to see development happening throughout all of Pennsylvania, and so do we. I as a landowner and we collectively as an Alliance and as a community are waiting for the day when the DRBC is open for business and we become perhaps the largest supplier of U.S. natural gas.  This would be a winning situation for all concerned.  Onward, Pennsylvania!!

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