Texas Fracking Protest Expanded to Include New Water-pollution Risks
Records Show Hundreds of Wells Could Leak CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas— Citing new records showing the potential for drinking water contamination around Corpus Christi, the Center for Biological Diversity today supplemented its legal protest to a federal oil and gas lease sale planned for Thursday.
The leases would allow fracking within and near several Texas reservoirs and dams that supply drinking water to Corpus Christi and other cities.
Since its original protest was filed, the Center has obtained records showing that old plugged wells are leaking into the Choke Canyon reservoir.
More than 100 active oil wells and seven gas wells are within the reservoir — many within 2 miles of lease-sale parcels.
There are four leaking wells at Choke Canyon and hundreds of existing wells at Choke Canyon, Lake Somerville and Lake Texana that could potentially leak, according to public records.
If new wells are drilled on new federal leases, more high-pressure fracking could push chemical-laden fluid into old wells, contaminating water supplies if the old wells leak.
The Center’s protest cites the BLM’s failure to consider Bureau of Reclamation recommendations for more analysis in the face of fracking-caused earthquake risks to Choke Canyon dam.
Since the Center filed its original protest in February, public records obtained from the Texas Railroad Commission and Bureau of Reclamation revealed that four plugged wells are leaking gas, two within and two near Choke Canyon Reservoir, a primary Corpus Christi water supply.
But records show that since then, federal, state and Corpus Christi officials have considered underwater inspections of the leaking wells.
It’s alarming that they’re allowing this lease sale to continue.” Conservation groups and the city of Corpus Christi filed formal protests in February challenging the leasing plan, raising concerns about spills, water contamination and earthquakes that could jeopardize dam integrity and harm downstream water users.