Apache Corp. has announced plans to scale up its fracking in Alpine High, an area near Balmorhea town and state park. It claims to have discovered billions of gallons of frackable gas and oil. This is devastating news for the region. Here are some reasons why:
1) Balmorhea is home to several endangered species.
2) It is a beautiful and unique oasis in the middle of the desert, a treasure for the region and has been enjoyed by millions of people throughout the centuries.
3) It is near McDonald Observatory, one of the top astronomical research facilities in the world, requiring truly dark skies (not methane flaring) to do its work.
4) Apache has already dropped several rigs in the area, at least one less than 1000 feet from Balmorhea Lake.
5) They’re paying UT Arlington research facility CLEAR to conduct water studies. It is uncertain how independent CLEAR will be in the study considering University of Texas’ heavy investment in oil and gas and the source of the funding.
6) Texas Parks and Wildlife never studied the impacts of oil drilling on the springs.
For these reasons and many others, we are deeply concerned.
We have begun by working with the local community, helping to plan information events and planning meetings. We are also working hard on research behind the scenes on water issues, potential and likely impacts of fracking on the Southern Delaware Basin and collaborating with other groups to raise awareness and combine forces to make vital changes to protect the region. Balmorhea is a precious treasure of the Big Bend and of Texas and we all need to work together to protect it.