You wouldn’t know it by reading the article, but I played a roll in this article. Aw well, so it goes… The article was well done and hopefully now frack sand mining is showing up on a few more radars. I know I’m getting more and more contacts about them every day.
There’s more to this story though, like how EOG had all their employees show up for the meeting that was supposed to be for the locals. The Big Gas Mafia makes their employees show up at these meetings and somebody passes out stickers saying, “We love EOG” or some other dumb thing. I’m sure that fools a lot of folks–winning hearts and minds.
Here’s how it went down from one of the locals:
The meeting went as well as could be expected, I suppose. We showed over an hour early and the parking lot was already half full of white oilfield pickups. There was a tall, slim blonde just inside the door handing out yellow “We support EOG” buttons. Very few if any of the people who put those on were local – most were probably from the Fort Worth office, with one from Jacksboro, one from Bowie, one from Era, etc. So those folks filled up most of the seats, and as the locals/opposition trickled in closer to the start time, they were left standing in a big ring around the edge of the room. By the time the thing started, there were probably between 4-500 people in the room, with maybe a third of them wearing the EOG buttons.
Curt Parsons gave EOG’s presentation. About the only new information in it was a map showing the area of the property they expect to be mining during the next 5 and then 10 years – about 500 acres total – plus this puff piece of an economic report some consultant ginned up for them a couple of weeks ago, talking about job creation and tax revenues. He also claimed they only have 3 brackish water wells for their process water, and that that’s all they need.
Only two EOG supporters spoke during the informal (non-recorded, non-public-record) session, out of more than 20 speakers total. Cee Cee Candler was the other EOG representative at the table up front, next to Parsons. She probably came out with the best laugh line of the evening when she said their contracted hydrologist is of the opinion that their pumping of the deeper brackish water will actually *improve* the Trinity water. Candler is good at her job, retaining the same mild smile even while saying that yes, fine silica dust is a carcinogen, and that no, workers at the facility will not wear breathing masks. Parsons is less well suited for the public meeting role, and became visibly frustrated and combative several times. He got pressed several times to give specific numbers on water use, water pumping, well numbers, and truck traffic, but never got more specific than ‘more at some times, less at others, depending on demand,’ and ‘a handful.’
During the formal session, there were about a dozen people from EOG who stood up and talked about their time with the company and how well it’s treated them, and all the safety and environmental training they have to do. Those people were all at the beginning, because the formal comments came in the order in which people had signed up, and EOG’s employees all showed up way early. After that, there were nearly 40 people who spoke against the sand mine. The whole thing ended around midnight.
I’d note that the permit did say that construction was planned to begin in August, and that things have been very quiet around the site for the past couple of weeks. Scuttlebutt is that a local concrete supplier has a 640-yard order from EOG that’s been “postponed” – presumably this is for the hard concrete road loop around the plant that they say they’ll put in to keep road dust down. A local with EOG ties tried to get a member of our group to negotiate with EOG last Friday, and on Monday at noon David Brunette was in the Saint Jo mayor’s office calling the good ol’ boys who negotiated the last couple of O&G settlements there, and asking the mayor, “What do they want?!” They told him to call the head of our current group, which apparently he didn’t attempt.
But, that’s not all…
EOG is building a waste processing facility in this same community. They plan to turn the waste into road base. They can do this NOT because the waste is not toxic but because the oil and gas industry has broad exemptions from our major federal environmental statutes. So they don’t have to call their toxic waste toxic. From the Save the Trinity Aquifer blog:
The application states that “types of waste to be treated will incluce RCRA exempt, oil based drilling fluid and cuttings, crude oil contaminated soil, production tank bottoms, and flow back sand.” The application estimates a volume of between 200-800 tons of these wastes per day.
In an article in the local paper, one of the local officials wonders why EOG needs to create road base.
I can answer that:
Let’s say that EOG is drilling 8000′ down to the Barnett Shale. That’s 9,600 barrels of solid waste. Let’s say they then drill horizontally for 1/2 mile, which is 2,640′. That’s 3,168 barrels of solid waste for an approximate grand total of 12,768 barrels of waste. There are roughly 15,000 wells in the Barnett Shale and if each well generates that much waste it would be 191,520,000 barrels of solid waste. Did you think they were going to keep spreading it on farmland forever? Eventually you run out of places to put that crap so the Big Gas Mafia puts on their thinking cap and comes up with road base.
But, that’s not all…
They also get a rock crusher:
HEARING REQUESTS/REQUESTS FOR RECONSIDERATION
Item 1 Docket No. 2011-1524-AIR.
Consideration of application by J. R. Thompson, Inc. for New Air Quality Permit, 92504L001 to authorize the construction of a portable rock crushing plant. The proposed plant site is to be located on the east side of County Road 343 approximately two miles south of Farm-to-Market Road 1630, Muenster, Cooke County, Texas. The Commission will also consider requests for hearing or reconsideration, related responses and replies, public comment, and the Executive Director’s Response to Comments. (Douglas Brown , Larry Buller)
P.S. A dam on a frack pond burst, washed out a road and left a family stranded. Their misery is just getting started.