Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Presentation from Informational Meetings

In case you weren't able to attend either of the informational meetings last week in Muenster and Saint Jo, there's a version of the presentation from those meetings available online here.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Concerns about Frack Sand Mine Making News

In recent days, several local and regional media outlets have featured residents' concerns over EOG's frack sand mine and processing facility. Here's a sampling:

Bowie News

(...and followup story)

Gainesville Daily Register

Weekly News of Cooke County

Wichita Falls Times-Record News
(...and followup story)


Daily Ardmoreite

Thanks to the local press for keeping the public in the know!

Sample Letter to TCEQ

Here is the text of a sample letter to TCEQ, along with instructions on how to submit it either electronically or by mail.

Don't delay!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Muenster Meeting Recap: Film on KXII

Nearly 40 people attended the public informational meeting in Muenster on June 14, including several from the Oklahoma side of the Red. Oklahoma State Representative Tommy Hardin (District 49) attended, along with Marshall County Commissioners Don Melton and Chris Duroy. From Texas, Cooke County Pct. 4 Commissioner Leon Klement attended.

KXII had a reporter at the meeting, and aired a segment about it on that evening's 10 o'clock newscast. You can read the transcript and see the video of the news segment here

Thanks to all the elected officials, press folk, and concerned citizens for coming out to get informed!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Informational Meetings this Week in Muenster and Saint Jo

Come learn as much as we know about EOG's plans for its Cooke County frack sand mine, and find out what you can do to learn more.

The times and places of these informational meetings for the public are:

Tuesday, June 14
6:00 PM
Rohmer's Restaurant
Muenster, Texas

Thursday, June 16
6:00 PM
Civic Center
Saint Jo, Texas

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

EOG's Application for Air Quality Permit #95412

TCEQ makes hard copies of pending air quality permit applications available for public viewing at locations near the project site. In this case, the application is available for public viewing at the Muenster Public Library.

For those who can get to an internet connection more quickly or conveniently than they can get to Muenster during library hours, here are links to pdf versions of a scanned copy of EOG's application for air quality permit # 95412:
Lower resolution (~4 MB)
Higher resolution (~12 MB)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Birds-Eye View of EOG's Cooke County Frack Sand Mine

Here are a couple of recent aerial photos of EOG's frack sand mine under construction off of FM 373.

This one shows the northwest corner of the sand mine facility. FM 373 runs east-west in the upper portion of the image. Mountain Creek flows past from south to north at the left. The length of the pit closest to the creek in this image is roughly 200 yards; note how close the pit lies to the edge of the creek. The distance from the FM 373 bridge over Mountain Creek to the point where Mountain Creek empties into the Red River is 8,800 feet, a little over a mile and a half. A few pieces of earth moving equipment visible in the bottom of the pit help to give an idea of the scale.

This one is looking south, taken from the opposite side of FM 373 as the previous photo. Mountain Creek is visible at the right-hand edge of the photo, just beyond FM 373. This view shows the large pit seen in the previous photo, as well as the extent of hundreds of acres of bare soil to the south and west of the pit.

New Public Comment Period Ends June 24: Informational Meetings June 14 and 16 in Muenster and Saint Jo

EOG Resources, Inc., a corporation that was once part of Enron, has set its sights on draining Cooke and Montague county residents’ groundwater, and putting their air quality at risk.

Upcoming meetings in Saint Jo and Muenster will give citizens a chance to find out what’s going on – and what they can do about it.

These informational meetings will take place on June 14 at 6:00 PM at Rohmer’s in Muenster, and on June 16 at 6:30 PM at the Civic Center in Saint Jo.

EOG has applied for an air quality permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for a facility where it will mine and process sand for use in hydraulic oil and gas well fracturing, or “fracking.” The facility is located at 14596 North FM 373, on the bank of Mountain Creek just a mile and a half above the creek’s discharge into the Red River.

Area residents have until June 24 to submit public comments on EOG’s permit application to TCEQ. They have the right to request a public meeting on the application, which would allow residents to put questions directly to EOG representatives. They can also request a contested case hearing, which focuses on the air pollution claims made in the application.

The process for submitting comments to TCEQ will be explained at the meetings, as well as at the end of this article.

According to EOG’s permit application, the sand mine will use 3,700 gallons of water every minute, and move 500 tons of sand every hour. The many risks of these activities to area residents include dry water wells, toxic air pollution, increased traffic hazards, and higher taxes to cover increased wear and tear on local roads.

Even downstream industries, such as the sport tourist fisheries in Lake Texoma, could be affected.

According to the Bowie News, groundwater pumping grew by 50% between 2009-10 in the four-county Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District, as the boom in fracking has raced through the Barnett Shale.

The EOG sand mine will emit airborne contaminants including organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter, including particulate matter with diameters of 10 microns or less and 2.5 microns or less.

“Frack sand mining is another one of those environmental issues that the industry doesn't disclose when they ask for your signature on that mineral lease,” says Sharon Wilson, of the Oil & Gas Accountability Project. “It requires massive amounts of water, carries health risks and causes a lot of environmental destruction.”

Despite these dangers, area residents have few options available to fight the threat. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality requires an air quality permit for operations of this type, which discharge fine particulate silicon, a human carcinogen.

“Frack sand acts like asbestos on your lungs. It's called silicosis,” says Wilson.

All public comments must be submitted to TCEQ either electronically at, or in writing to the Texas Commission on Environmental quality, Office of the Chief Clerk, MC-105, P.O. Box 13087, Austin, Texas 78711-3087.

While the agency will consider all comments received by the June 24 deadline, only those specifically requesting a public meeting and/or a contested case hearing will factor into the agency’s decision to hold those events.

Comments should reference proposed air quality permit number 95412.

In addition, those desiring to request a contested case hearing must include the following information in their submitted comments: (1) name, mailing address, daytime phone number, and fax number, if any; (2) applicant’s name (EOG Resources, Inc.) and permit number (95412), the statement “[I/we] request a contested case hearing”; (4) a specific description of how you would be adversely affected by the application and air emissions from the facility in a way not common to the general public; (5) the location and distance of your property relative to the facility; and (6) a description of how you use the property which is made by a group or association.

TCEQ must also grant a public meeting and/or a contested case hearing if these are requested by local legislators. The legislators whose districts include the EOG Cooke County Sand Mine are Sen. Craig Estes (940.898.0331; and Rep. Rick Hardcastle (940.553.3825;

EOG Sand Mine Threatens Cooke/Montague County Residents' Air, Water, Livelihoods

Cooke and Montague County residents are banding together once again to counter yet another fracking industry project that threatens water and air resources, as well as property values, public safety, and quality of life.

EOG is attempting to establish a frack sand mining facility at 14596 North 373 FM Road, Saint Jo, Cooke County Texas 76265. The EOG frac sand excavation, processing, and transporting involves clearing 1400 acres of woodlands near Mountain Creek, mining the frac sand, washing and drying the sand, and loading the sand into the trucks to transport.

The first action of clearing and burning the Mountain Creek woodlands began during the fall of 2010. Most residents and local government officials were unaware of the details of this action. In the spring of 2011, when the extent of clearing the land was more visible, local citizens called local officials, including the county fire marshal, county commissioners, and NRCS, who referred the calls to TCEQ.

Dallas TCEQ planned a site visit, but the TCEQ staffer reported that she was unable to see anything as the gate at the site was locked. Dallas TCEQ in turn referred the group to the Railroad Commission (RRC), who referred the group back to TCEQ.

The Dallas TCEQ provided the phone numbers of the regional TCEQ in Fort Worth, who eventually referred the group to Dick Lewis, TCEQ public relations in Austin. Lewis provided the phone number of Larry Buller, TCEQ’s engineer and case handler for EOG’s application for Air Quality Permit #95412.

The public notice of EOG’s application for an air quality permit lists the chemicals emitted into the air by the excavation, processing, and transportation of frack sand. The permit notice went into the Muenster Enterprise only; Saint Jo residents were not notified of EOG’s intent.

In search of more detailed information about the EOG’s frac sand mining facility construction and processing procedures, local residents contacted the North Texas Groundwater Conservation District, and the Army Corp of Engineers (ACE) in Lewisville, Texas.

The Lewisville Corps of Engineers office referred the call to the Army Corp of Engineers’ Tulsa office, which has jurisdiction over the Red River. The Tulsa ACE office stated that EOG filed the correct permit and that there would be “no impact to the waters of the United States.”

The Railroad Commission was contacted again with queries concerning a proposed gas line going from Montague County through private properties to the sand mining location in Cooke County. It is inferred that the gas line will serve as a source of energy for processing the frack sand. The RRC Safety Pipeline Division was contacted and the person in charge stated that no T-4 permit had been filed by EOG as of June 3, 2011.

During the last week of April and first two weeks of May, a small group of local residents scrambled to research frack sand mining and its impact on the environment. What was learned from various websites on frack sand locations in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois caused great concern for both the local and more distant environment.

The small group rushed to inform the residents of Saint Jo proper, rural residents in between FM2382 and FM677, the County Commissioners, and the North Texas Groundwater Conservation District to contact the TCEQ to request a public meeting with TCEQ and EOG in the near future.

This meeting was requested in order for the questions and concerns to be addressed about frack sand processing hazards to the local residents’ health and to the dangers posed to the farming and cattle community environment. About 70 people attended, and in the following week before the initial public comment deadline, TCEQ's comment website registered 67 comments, including many requests for a public meeting and a contested case hearing.

In the May 27, 2011, issue of the Saint Jo Tribune, public notice of EOG's application for TCEQ air quality permit number 95412 was again published, with a new 30-day comment period, in response to residents' complaints that the initial public notice had been published only in the Muenster Enterprise, thus escaping the notice of many people living in the areas to be impacted by the sand mine.