July 17, 2013 —
WAYNE COUNTY, PA — For the past week or more, residents in Wayne County have been receiving letters that begin this way: “Newfield Appalacha PA LLC writes to you on behalf of itself and Hess Corporation with respect to the above referenced lease, Newfield and Hess have elected to release your lease, thus your lease will not be continued to the development phase.”
About 1,500 leases that covered more than 100,000 acres were terminated, and included some that were located in Susquehanna County. Drilling in Wayne County has been halted because of a moratorium on drilling imposed by the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC). The Northern Wane Property Owners Association (NWPOA) has threatened to sue the DRBC over the moratorium and a spokesman for NWPOA told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the moratorium was likely connected to the withdrawal, and that the organization was still considering litigation. But a spokesman for Newfield said the move was a business decision based on the low price of natural gas and the company was moving to focus more on oil production.
Environmental groups who oppose fracking in the Delaware River Basin are celebrating the development as a victory for grassroots activism.