ERA (Cooke Co) Tx Citizens FILLED THE ROOM at the Texas Railroad Commission Hearing on the XTO Injection WellSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


ERA (Cooke Co) Tx Citizens FILLED THE ROOM at the Texas Railroad Commission Hearing on the XTO Injection Well

24 March 2007 at 8:34:58 AM

From Bill Gordon.

A recent Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) report stated there were 5,600 producing gas wells in the Barnett Shale and new wells were being drilled at a rate of 100 per month. In reference to the FW Star-Telegram article below; If XTO was the second largest producer in the Barnett Shale in 2006; I wonder how many more of their wells might have this problem?

I have been researching RRC regulations concerning oil and gas waste disposal wells for over a year. I have often wondered how an oil and gas company, a drilling company, or an oil and gas waste disposal company, or even an RRC folks for that matter, can even begin to follow and enforce the RRC regulations and rules as I have found them to be scattered over multiple locations with conflicting statements (my opinion).

I attended the Era, Texas, Cooke County, RRC hearing yesterday to offer support, observe, and get an idea as to what we are up against in our two upcoming hearings in April. My above concerns above were CONFIRMED - TENFOLD!

After attending the ERA hearing yesterday, I am now convinced that the expert witnesses, the lawyers, and the RRC Examiners, do not understand the RRC regulations any more than I do. The entire hearing seemed to be based on which lawyer could convince the RRC Examiners on which side was right and as I have previously stated, the RRC Examiners act as "Judge and Jury" and it is my belief that their minds are already made up in favor of the applicant even before the hearing begins.

Even I was allowed to ask some questions - at least that is what I thought. When I got one answer clarifying the sacks of cement on the W-14 required to cement the long string casing to the surface, I made a comment that it was not sufficient due to washout of the borehole. I then asked what "washout" factor was used in the W-14 application cement volume calculations. The applicant's lawyer objected and said I was attempting to act as an "expert" witness. The RRC Examiner agreed and the applicant's witness (who prepared the W-14) was not required to answer my question concerning the washout factor (the washout factor compensates for irregular hole size and cave-ins while drilling to ensure that the cement will reach the surface).

I attempted to ask the applicant himself if he was going to pressure test the casings per RRC Rule 3.13. The applicant's lawyer objected and the RRC Examiner denied me from asking any more questions. I thought this was very important as the applicant had previously testified under cross examination that he recently had a production well leak due to a hole in the new casing. The EPA office in Dallas has not been able to verify with the RRC that the casings in the recently drilled SWDW in Hico, TX, was pressure tested per RRC Rule 3.13!

I came away from the hearing thinking that more questions were raised than answered! Folks, this is SCAREY! RRC hearings should be open for debate, includung citizen's concerns, rather than raising questions and leaving them for the Examiners to decide on the outcome.

The Era citizens FILLED the largest hearing room at the RRC and they had to get up at 3:30 AM to drive to Austin. The hearing started at 9:30 AM and lasted until 5:00 PM and did not finish. The hearing is to be continued at a later date. I overheard an RRC Geologist (apparently he was there to observe) sitting near me tell an Era citizen that this hearing could be a "Landmark"! The Era folks all wore 3-1/2 inch yellow buttons with the words "ERA CONCERNED CITIZENS for CLEAN WATER". One of my Cooke County contacts brought me a button and I wore it proudly. More on the Era hearing later.

I have 8 pages of notes and I also requested a copy of the transcript - if I can afford it. The transcript cost is $1.30 per page. This transcript will most likely be several hundred pages and will most certainly be out of my budget. I can get a "commercial" permit for injecting oil and gas waste into the Ellenberger formation for ONLY $100.00 - is this not REDICULEOUS! It's obvious the RRC does not want these transcripts in the hands of us concerned citizens.

Folks, I know you will not believe this but the Era citizens (and I also) applauded one of the RRC Examiners at the end of the day. I would not have believed it either had I not been there. I will tell you why later. I believe this in itself would qualify this hearing as a "Landmark".

     Views: 653 
Latest Blog Post by salon -Last Show Tonight on SLAPP Suits
1 - dlfleming   19 Jul 2007 @ 11:09:47 AM  Here's an update on the community of Era's battle to stop a commercial injection well:  WE WON!!!  After two hearings at the RRC, on July 12 the examiners' opinion was released and it states in part, "The examiners recommend that this application be denied because Hess did not meet his burden of proof in showing that disposal fluids will be confined to the proposed interval and that operation of the porposed disposal well is in the public interest."  This is a HUGE victory for the Era Concerned Citizens for Clean Water.

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