By Elliot Woods
November 6, 2023
From the article:
Commission Shift has published extensive reporting on the [Railroad Commission’s] failure to adequately address the state’s constantly swelling list of orphaned, abandoned and inactive oil and gas wells, some of which are leaking vast quantities of contaminated water onto the surface or into adjacent groundwater reservoirs. The Environmental Defense Fund and Earthworks have repeatedly reported on the agency’s deficient approach to wasteful methane venting and flaring, despite having rules about when flaring is permissible and when it isn’t.
Palacios also expressed concern about commissioners’ recent approval of permits for new injection wells over the recommendations of staffers charged with carrying out technical review of the applications. Commission examiners had found that Oklahoma City-based company Lagoon Water Management, which was seeking approval to drill Class II waste disposal wells in Dawson County, “failed to prove the Proposed Disposal Wells are in the public interest,” because, according to the review, there was already sufficient disposal capacity in the area. Piñon Operating, an oil and gas producer with active wells in the same area where Lagoon wanted to put its wells, protested Lagoon’s applications on the grounds that additional disposal capacity was not needed, and that overpressurizing the affected formation could lead to migrations of fluids and hydrogen sulfide gas that could “cause higher drilling costs, loss of well bores, and ultimately, wasted oil and gas reserves.”