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Environment & Energy

Commission Approves Water Withdrawals from Susquehanna for Fracking

There were shouts from protesters, but no arrests at a public meeting of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission Thursday. The panel met to vote on permits from energy companies looking to withdraw water from the Susquehanna River for hydraulic fracturing. About 25 demonstrators opposed to fracking and natural gas drilling accused the SRBC of rubberstamping approval for 42 projects.

Susan Obleski, spokeswoman for the commission, said each project is examined on a case-by-case basis.

"The commission has a rigorous review process. We add conditions on all of our approvals to protect streams, to protect ground water levels. We run the whole gamut of all the scientific needs on all of these applications," said Obleski.

Drilling companies are required to get a permit for all water withdrawals, whereas the SRBC allows other industries to withdraw up to 100 thousand gallons of water a day without permission.

There were 60 total applications in front of commission. Of those, three were denied, and 10 were tabled.

The SRBC oversees water withdrawal permits for Eastern Pennsylvania, from Luzerne County to Cambria County. They are a go-to source for project permits, as the Delaware River Basin Commission has a moratorium on drilling.