Are tougher rules coming for the fracking man camps?


Go to:
Received: Friday, January 4, 2013
Re: Whether a county may regulate, as a subdivision, the partition of a tract of land in the unincorporated portion of the county under Local Government Code chapter 232 or Health and Safety Code chapter 121
Requestor: The Honorable Daynah Fallwell
Wilson County Attorney
1103 Fourth Street
Floresville, Texas 78114

Section 232.101 TEx. Loc. Gov’T CODE authorizes the commissioners court to adopt rules governing plats and subdivisions of land in the unincorporated areas to “promote the health, safety, morals, or general welfare of the county and the safe, orderly, and healthful development” of the area. Furthermore, Section 121.003 TEX. HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE, gives authority to the governing body of a municipality or the commissioners court of a county “to enforce any law that is reasonably necessary to protect the public health.”

Looks like man camp shanty towns may end up having to comply with subdivision rules.

About Sharon Wilson

Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.


  1. says

    Codes for Man Camps, Wow – Gas drilling changes everything forever in a community, doesn’t it? It’s almost like giving away one’s virginity – you can never go back.

    Cities must make rules [that the industry can help write] but someone must ensure that these ordinances get enforced. Take the City of Arlington, for example, who seems to be ignoring repeat violations at their gas drilling sites.

    These reports show repeat violations in the 4th quarter that appeared in the 1st quarter. And we wonder why citizens feel as though they have been raped. It may be due time for us to send a letter to the Attorney General.

    • Tillotson says

      Amazing – three violations at the site right next to my house and I never heard a word about it.

      • says

        @Tillotson – Seems most of these sites have several Repeat violations. Goes to show that the City is not Enforcing their own ordinance. Have you spoken to the city about these? We have, and they tell me they are requiring the operator to comply. We’ll see…. Would it be possible for you to contact us?

    • Fillows4 says

      It seems a some of the violations repeated at most the site. Like camera, vehicle impact, emergency information, fencing. Did not go thru all of them but in the ones I looked at those were very common.
      Cant give these guys an inch.

    • says

      Some of the workers are living in horrible, unsafe, illegal and unsanitary conditions.

      Rental from locals presents its own problems. The rental prices are already jacked up so high that long-time residents have been driven out.

  2. Jana says

    Is it not ironic that the operators who have been drilling for years in the counties avoiding city ordinances and placing those of us who live in unincorporated areas in danger because there is NO state or federal protection are the ones creating this problem too? Is it going to take “horrible, unsafe, illegal and unsanitary conditions” to get the same protection for the residents who pay the commissioner’s salaries and actually live and pay taxes here? No disrespect, I expect human decency, but where the hell has ours been all these years?

    • says

      Part of the culture of rural portion of the United States is that the “unincorporated” areas are somewhat unregulated. Many folks, myself included, move to unincorporated areas so that they can build or pretty much do what they want with their property. For example, I have approximately six coops for my 100+ hobby chickens, let alone the expansive cat and dog compounds.

      In that vein, many of the rural areas vis-a-vis fracking are likely considered “sacrifice zones.”

    • says

      I can’t imagine what it must be like for people living in rural areas where this activity is unregulated. We know the industry has no respect for people anywhere. Even in populated areas where we have a gas drilling ordinance, the rules are rarely enforced, and the industry wrote the ordinances. Much of our ordinance deals with aesthetics anyway – not safety. They think if they can hide these sites behind a screen of trees and shrubs, no will know they are there. What we see are alot of dead trees. Nothing seems to thrive near these sites. The point is – fracking cannot be done safety anywhere, and it should be banned worldwide.

  3. Your Neighbor says

    How about when you are not in the city limits but are subject to city rules through Extraterritorial Jurisdiction? Do you think it is fair make people that receive NO city services subject to city rules?

    • says

      Do you think it’s fair for roughnecks to live in unsafe and unsanitary conditions?
      Do you think it’s fair for rural people to get shoved aside by man camps and exposed to some of the seedy things that happen there?