Fracking Argentina

La Evolución de la Fracturicación Hidráulica en el País y el Mundo

Jeff Mosier
March 15, 2016

The Army Corps of Engineers has extended its no-fracking zone around the Joe Pool Lake dam to protect it from possible damage, officials announced today.

The corps determined that its 3,000-foot exclusion zone for natural gas drilling was inadequate to protect the structural integrity of the dam in Grand Prairie. The new zone is 4,000 feet.

After a multiyear engineering study, the corps concluded that the existing 20-year-old standard “does not sufficiently meet our minimal tolerable risk guidelines and therefore, poses a risk to the dam, the lake, and the public.”

Corps officials said the 4,000-foot exclusion zone applies only to Joe Pool Lake and not others locally, such as the high-risk dam at Lewisville Lake.

The corp, however, doesn’t generally have the authority to enforce restrictions outside its property. Officials have previously said they could take legal action if they believed drilling might threaten the dam.

Tom Hart, Grand Prairie’s city manager, said his city created a moratorium on gas drilling within that 3,000-feet zone at the request of the corps and has maintained those restrictions. But the state legislature has since scaled back the ability of cities to restrict drilling.

He said there is only one existing well site that would be affected by this larger zone. An XTO Energy site has three wells already drilled and four more permitted. But Hart said he doesn’t know what the new restrictions mean for the permitted wells that haven’t been drilled.

“Since that dam’s in our city, we want it to be as safe as possible,” Hart said. “But there’s another side of the coin there. Who is going to take the action if it’s needed to tell a company they cannot drill?”

“We’re really hoping the corps will do more than study this and throw some numbers out,” Hart said. “If they feel like this is an issue, we hope they’ll step up.”

A representative of XTO Energy, which owns the Grand Prairie pad site that’s within 4,000 feet of the dam, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Officials with the Texas Oil & Gas Association were looking at the study Tuesday afternoon and didn’t have any comments yet.

Susan Read, a Grand Prairie homeowner active in the fight for the moratorium, said she’s glad the long-awaited study is finished. But she too is concerned about what it means.

“Who is going to enforce what?” she asked. “This is a study. It’s not a law.”

Read said the study makes it clear the corps doesn’t want drilling or extraction near the dam. So some government agency, she said, needs to step in and take action.

The study was commissioned to look at dangers posed by earthquakes induced by gas drilling operations and the possibility that drilling might create a shift along natural faults.

Studies have pointed to waste water injection wells as contributing to the sudden appearance of earthquakes here. The corps said it will work to prohibit these injection wells within 5 miles of the Joe Pool dam. The closest well now is about 9 miles away.

The dam study was well underway before public concerns about the stability of the high-risk Lewisville Lake dam were made public last year. Those concerns were unrelated to gas drilling.

However, the issue of gas drilling at Lewisville Lake came up recently when the Bureau of Land Management announced plans to lease some lake property for gas drilling. The corps did not object to the proposal since the wells would not be inside that 3,000-foot zone.

Lewisville Lake was later taken off the auction block for procedural reasons that had nothing to do with earthquake fears.


Categories: Fracking en el Mundo

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