An oil field waste facility proposed about a quarter-mile from the town of Nordheim is one step closer to fruition.
Texas Railroad Commission hearing examiners recommended granting an application for the 143-acre waste facility on Hohn Road last week.
Neighbors of the proposed site, who are mostly of retirement age, have been protesting the site for two years and first came face-to-face with Pyote Reclamation Systems representatives proposing the site at a public hearing in Austin in September. At the hearing, neighbors disputed experts hired by Pyote about the land characteristics.
While neighbors said caliche underlays the proposed site location, experts hired by Pyote said there’s a thick clay with the consistency of Play-Doh that will provide a natural barrier between oil field waste and groundwater.
Paul Baumann, who grew up near the proposed waste site and now owns land adjacent to it, said he is disappointed by the examiners’ decision.
“I don’t like the idea of me having to test my water every year because of the waste site,” Baumann said. “It shouldn’t cost us money for them to put that thing in.”
Parties to the application have 15 days from the examiners’ recommendation to file a statement disagreeing with the recommendation and setting out their reasons why. The parties then have 10 days to respond to one another’s statements.
“We are pleased the outcome of the public hearing process was the RRC Examiners recommending granting the application for the permit for the Hohn Road Facility,” said George Wommack, the general manager of Pyote.
Railroad Commissioners will make the final decision on the application.
The role of the Railroad Commission is to protect public safety and natural resources by enforcing state laws and rules and regulations, including rules and regulations based on science over oil and gas facilities, said commission spokeswoman Ramona Nye.
“The commission takes very seriously public input on the regulation of the oil and gas industry,” Nye wrote in an email Thursday. “As the commission staff regulatory actions are based on science, staff cannot deny a permit if an applicant meets all the requirements outlined in a permit.”
This article was written by Sara Sneath from Victoria Advocate, Texas and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.