Monday, January 23, 2012

SRBC To Hold Hearing On Water Consumption, Withdrawal Requests Feb. 16

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission will conduct a public hearing February 16 in Harrisburg to accept public comments on water withdrawal and consumptive use project applications scheduled for action by SRBC at its next business meeting in mid-March.
            The hearing on the project applications will be held in the State Capitol, East Wing, Room 8E-B, Harrisburg, Pa., 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
            The list of project applications scheduled for comment and information on those applications are available on SRBC’s website.  The project applications scheduled for the February 16 hearing also include those that were approved at SRBC’s December 15, 2011 hearing in Wilkes-Barre. Pa. 
            “The Commission has decided to reconsider its December action on those project applications because the disruptive behavior of certain individuals prevented interested persons from offering testimony at the time,” said SRBC Executive Director Paul Swartz.  “We are committed to preserving the due process rights of all citizens so they can provide constructive and meaningful comments on proposed projects.”
            Persons planning to present oral testimony at the public hearing are asked to notify SRBC prior to the hearing of their intent to testify and to indicate the project application(s) they plan to comment on.
            The notices are to be directed to Richard Cairo, General Counsel, Susquehanna River Basin Commission, 1721 North Front Street, Harrisburg, PA, 17102, Phone: 717-238-0423, ext 306, Fax: 717-238-2436, email to:  
            SRBC will also accept written comments on the project applications until February 27.  Comments may be submitted via the Internet or mailed or faxed to Mr. Cairo.
            “Conducting a public hearing on project applications one month before the Commission acts on the projects is a new procedure and represents an improvement over our past practice,” said Swartz.  “This change will give the public ample opportunities for commenting and will give the commissioners more time to review and consider comments before voting on proposed projects.
            That change, which makes SRBC’s process more consistent with the processes followed by other regulatory agencies, is one of many procedural changes SRBC has put into practice to enhance the public participation process. 
            Following are highlights of SRBC’s procedural changes:
            Public Hearings and Business Meetings Regarding Project Applications and Other Actions Requiring SRBC Votes
-- Each quarter, SRBC will conduct a public hearing to receive comments on specific project applications.  Persons interested in making general comments are encouraged to submit them in writing for SRBC review and consideration.  The public hearings will take place about one month before SRBC’s quarterly business meeting where project applications are scheduled for action.  Additional written comments also will be accepted for 10 days after the public hearing.
-- Each quarter, SRBC will conduct a business meeting to take action on project applications and other matters requiring a vote by the commissioners.  These business meetings also will be streamed live via webcast.  Given the ample opportunity for public comment in advance, SRBC will not accept additional comments at its business meetings on project applications or other actions scheduled for vote. 
            Procedures for Quarterly Public Hearings and Business Meetings
            SRBC has instituted certain procedures for the agency’s public hearings and business meetings.  The full set of procedures is available on SRBC’s website.
            Some of those include: all persons must sign-in and show photo identification; signage, posters, banners or other display media will be permitted only in designated areas; and the press will be permitted to set up and use video and recording devices.  The public will be permitted to use small, hand-held devices in a non-disruptive manner. 
            Swartz said, “The Commission is and will remain an open and transparent agency with a robust public participation process that allows all citizens to offer constructive and meaningful public input.”
            Visit the SRBC's Natural Gas Shales webpage for more information on how the Commission regulates water withdrawals related to gas drilling.

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner