North Texas Daily

Fracking could take a dive in Lake Lewisville

Fracking could take a dive in Lake Lewisville

February 18
15:51 2016

Julia Falcon | Staff Writer


People are worried that a plan to begin hydraulic fracturing in Lake Lewisville will contaminate drinking water and damage the lake’s ecosystem.

Residents have until 5 p.m. Friday to protest the plan announced by the Bureau of Land Management to put 258.0 acres of the lake up for auction to move closer to drilling. The government, officials said, must first hear what locals have to say and answer their questions before the plan can move forward. The bureau has done other sales in Texas, but this one has received the most backlash.

So far, letters have come from Dallas, Highland Village, Lewisville, Flower Mound and Denton.

Non-profit organization Clean Water Action sent in their letter of protest for the fracking because the deteriorating state of the Lake Lewisville dam and the possibility, they said, of seismic activity associated with fracking.

“We are worried about contamination runoff from the lake and additional seismicity added to the lake,” North Texas outreach coordinator for Texas Clean Water Action Rita Beving said. “We’ve talked to geologists, and corps documents that show that fracking can add to seismicity and other factors that can damage a dam.”

This process began in 2014, when an oil and gas company showed interest in the federal oil and gas for this particular parcel that is located under Lake Lewisville. If purchased, the lease will last 10 years, though it is still possible that no sale occurs.

“If a certain amount of people protest about the same thing, [BLM] will look into it. We can allow a parcel to be sold, we can defer it for a variety of reasons, or we can pull it,” spokesperson Donna Hummel said. “That’s where we will be after the 19th of February, we will respond to concerns that will be posted online and we will make a determination based on all these periods what will go to sale on April 20th.”

Natural Resource Specialist for BLM, Becky Hunt, said the land is scoped out to the best of their abilities, until there is authorization to drill.

“We go into through analysis of endangered species, air quality, climate, soil and all sorts of resources,” Hunt said. “It’s too early to know who will own it. Depending on the interest of a particular parcel, it can get very competitive. People who are very anti oil and gas have bid for the parcels and have gone to jail.”

BLM is in charge of what happens below the lake, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for what happens above, because a dam is located there. Clay Church, a public affairs employee for Fort Worth District of the Corps of Engineers, said the drilling is beneficial for people all around the country.

“The exploration of gas and natural resources is good for energy of the U.S.,” Church said. “The aspects of drilling, when accomplished safely, will fulfill energy needs for the country.”

David Foster, state director for Clean Water Action, said water could be contaminated and become too salty for human consumption.

“The petroleum chemicals come to the surface, and a water and chemical mix may happen. Disposing of the toxins in water is a challenge,” Foster said. “Sometimes the water will go back into the ground, may cause earthquakes, and methane gasses may go into the air instead of being captured. BLM wants to give someone permission to frack and we don’t know the geology under the lake or if there are fault lines that may cause a toxic mix for the earthquake issue. The Army Corps is concerned about the dam failure from fracking.”

At the Denton City Council meeting on Tuesday, resident Jennifer Lane told the council how important the lake is to her.

“It’s been pointed out that the letters we send out individually need to be as personalized as much as possible, I guess that would be the same for Denton, to talk very specifically why not, what Lewisville Lake is for us and the surrounding forests,” Lane said. “Not just drinking water, the most important thing, but the recreational area and what people are doing there.”

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