Susquehanna River Basin Commission holds hearing on water removal requests

    The agency that vets applications from energy companies to pull water from the Susquehanna River Basin is hearing public comment on its next steps.

    Environmental advocates and anti-drilling activists are asking the Susquehanna River Basin Commission to reject the latest requests from natural gas drilling companies to siphon water for hydrofracking purposes — or at least delay approving those applications until the commission has revised its overall water usage guidelines.

    Commissioner Herb Sachs, who represents Maryland on the commission, says the panel updates a broad plan for water use every five years.

    “When we did the last one, the Marcellus Shale drilling was just beginning to get started,” he said Thursday.

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    The next update is due by the end of 2013.

    In that time, the commission is planning three studies of shale gas development.

    But Sachs says it’s unlikely the panel will delay ruling on water withdrawal permits until then.

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