Texas Parks and Wildlife to monitor Apache Corp. Balmorhea drilling
June 8th, 2017 under Top Stories
By NICK WINCHESTER
REEVES COUNTY — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will embark on a large-scale environmental study to monitor the effects of oil and gas drilling on the springs that feed a well-used pool at Balmorhea State Park in West Texas, according to the Associated Press.
Brent Leisure, the state parks director, told the Houston Chronicle that he could not remember ever launching a similar effort in another of the state’s 95 parks, historic sites or natural areas. Parks biologists, hydrologists, geologists and administrators have mounted an in-depth, multiyear effort to monitor plants, fish, insects and water.
“We have a rare and endangered resource there at the San Solomon Springs,” Leisure said. “There’s no doubt about it. It’s an oasis. We just want to make sure it’s protected.” The springs feeds the swimming pool.
The Houston-based oil and gas company, Apache Corporation, announced last week it intended to carry out its own research, and said it hired the National Cave and Karst Research Institute (NCKRI) to study the aquifiers around Balmorhea State Park.
Apache Corp. discovered 15 billion barrels of oil and gas last September at the Alpine High, a new oil and gas play that stretches 60-miles across the Southern half of Reeves County, between the Davis and Apache mountain ranges.
“We’re working in accordance with state and local officials and have decided not to drill in Balmorhea in and under the park,” Apache Corp.’s Manager of External Engagement Joe Bretell told media partners CBS7 this week.
Bretell added that being environmentally conscious is important to the company, as was hiring from the local workforce.
“What we really want to emphasize is we’re making sure we’re caring for the environment in and around Alpine High,” Bretell told CBS7. “Making sure we’re doing this in a methodical, responsible way. Using the latest technology to protect the water and to protect the land, and making sure that where there’s opportunity to hire locally to bring jobs and economic development to the area that we’re actively doing that.”
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