Chickashanews.com

SCOOP

August 21, 2013

Fracking In Spotlight in Texas as Ample Oil, No Water

CHICKASHA —

Beverly McGuire saw the warning signs before the town well went dry: sand in the toilet bowl, the sputter of air in the tap, a pump working overtime to no effect. But it still did not prepare her for the night last month when she turned on the tap and discovered the tiny town where she had made her home for 35 years was out of water.

“The day that we ran out of water I turned on my faucet and nothing was there and at that moment I knew the whole of Barnhart was down the tubes,” she said, blinking back tears. “I went: 'dear God help us. That was the first thought that came to mind.”

Texan drought sets residents against fracking

Across the Southwest, residents of small communities like Barnhart are confronting the reality that something as basic as running water, as unthinking as turning on a tap, can no longer be taken for granted.

Three years of drought, decades of overuse and now the oil industry's outsize demands on water for fracking are running down reservoirs and underground aquifers. And climate change is making things worse.

In Texas alone, about 30 communities could run out of water by the end of the year, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Nearly 15 million people are living under some form of water rationing, barred from freely sprinkling their lawns or refilling their swimming pools. In Barnhart's case, the well appears to have run dry because the water was being extracted for shale gas fracking.

The town — a gas station, a community hall and a taco truck — sits in the midst of the great Texan oil rush, on the eastern edge of the Permian basin.

A few years ago, it seemed like a place on the way out. Now McGuire said she can see nine oil wells from her back porch, and there are dozens of RVs parked outside town, full of oil workers.

Text Only
SCOOP
  • Coast Guard wants barges to ship fracking water

    The U.S. Coast Guard wants to allow barges filled with fracking wastewater to ply the nation's rivers on their way toward disposal. Many environmentalists are horrified, but industry groups say barge transport has its advantages.

    December 19, 2013

  • Beyond fracking: University of Wyoming scientists look for ways to boost oil and gas production

    Terms like horizontal drilling and “fracking,” as hydraulic fracturing is commonly referred to, are well known now. The two technologies have sent U.S. energy production soaring in recent years, as previously inaccessible reservoirs of oil and gas have been unlocked in places like North Dakota, Pennsylvania and New York.

    December 18, 2013

  • More oil and gas drillers turn to water recycling

     When the rain stopped falling in Texas, the prairie grass yellowed, the soil cracked and oil drillers were confronted with a crisis. After years of easy access to cheap, plentiful water, the land they prized for its vast petroleum wealth was starting to dry up.

    November 14, 2013

  • OERB web.tiff Industry funded nonprofit cleans abandoned sites

    The energy industry has changed somewhat dramatically over the last two decades. During the boom in the '80s, regulation was scarce and energy companies left behind machinery and concrete slabs in the wake of their excavating. 
    Since 1993 the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board has been working diligently to make amends for the environmental damage done during this era, and 20 years later OERB has managed to clean up 13,000 well sites across the state including 53 in Grady County. 

    October 16, 2013 1 Photo

  • Chickasha to hold mineral lease auction

    The Chickasha City Council voted Monday to hold a public auction to lease more mineral rights around Lake Chickasha on Oct. 21.

    October 9, 2013

  • Fracking may emit less methane than previous estimates

    Fracked natural gas wells leak much less methane — a potent climate change-driving greenhouse gas — at certain points during the production process than previous studies and the Environmental Protection Agency have estimated, according to a University of Texas study released Monday.

    October 2, 2013

  • SCOOP draws new business to town

    The South Central Oklahoma Oil Province has gained the attention of another business. Energy and Environmental Services (EES) will open an office near the Canadian Valley Technology Center in Chickasha the old Aero Building.

    September 26, 2013

  • Best Well Services adds more jobs in Grady energy

    The energy sector in Chickasha has grown again. 

    September 18, 2013

  • Fracking won't affect city's water supply

    Hydraulic fracturing combined with mass draught has spelled disaster for many communities across the southwest, but Chickasha will not be among them. 

    August 29, 2013

  • Fracking In Spotlight in Texas as Ample Oil, No Water

    Beverly McGuire saw the warning signs before the town well went dry: sand in the toilet bowl, the sputter of air in the tap, a pump working overtime to no effect. But it still did not prepare her for the night last month when she turned on the tap and discovered the tiny town where she had made her home for 35 years was out of water.

    August 21, 2013