Houston — The Texas Railroad Commission has permitted oil and gas drilling 1600 feet from Lake Houston and less than ¼ mile from Copeland Elementary School and the Ben Bowen Early Childhood Center. Lake Houston is of one three reservoirs providing Houston’s drinking water.
“I can't believe they’d be allowed to drill right down the street from elementary and preschools next to a quiet lakeside neighborhood,” said area resident Kevin McManis. He continued, “The health impacts alone will hit hundreds of community kids, plus residents who are not aware of and do not want a gas well down the street. I don’t even want to think of the potential disaster for the City of Houston’s drinking water source, Lake Houston.”
Recent peer-reviewed research closely correlates negative health impacts with living within ½ mile of oil and gas production facilities. Texas state regulators earlier this month announced 276 cases of groundwater pollution from oil and gas operations. And the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s independent science review board has recently called for the agency to retract its claims that hydraulic fracturing, which may be used at these wells, doesn’t cause widespread pollution of drinking water.
Two public meetings will be held on September 15 with experts on oil and gas impacts to what these permits mean to the community and what can be done about it. The meetings will occur:
12pm at First Unitarian Universalist Church, 5200 Fannin St, Houston, TX 77004
7pm at Kingwood Branch Library, 4400 Bens View Ln, Kingwood, TX 77339
“The more science that’s published about the negative impacts of living near oil and gas production, the more it legitimates community concerns about hosting oil and gas production,” said Earthworks’ South Texas Organizer Priscilla Villa. “That’s why Lake Houston area residents have invited us to meet with the community to discuss what this drilling permit means to them, and what they can do about it.”
Speakers at the two public meetings will include:
- Jere Locke, Texas Drought Project, re the impacts of oil and gas extraction on water.
- Priscilla Villa, Earthworks, re the impacts of oil and gas extraction on community health.
- Zac Hildebrand, University of Texas Arlington, re air and water testing.
- Melanie Scruggs, Texas Campaign for the Environment, re HB 40 and the barriers it poses to the community.