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6 Investigates Follows-Up: Feds look to plug oil wells beneath Choke Canyon

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THREE RIVERS, TX -

Despite claiming methane seepage from old wells in and around Choke Canyon are not a threat to the water supply, 6 Investigates has learned federal officials are now discussing how best to plug them.

Information received by the Center for Biological Diversity in response to a federal Freedom of Information Act request showemails in which state and federal officials discuss who is responsible for plugging abandoned oil wells and whether underwater exploration for additional, abandoned wells, is necessary.

A federal official told 6 Investigates last month proof showing methane bubbling to the surface of the lake is not of concern and likely a natural phenomenon.

But Taylor McKinnon with the Center for Biological Diversity says what is of concern is the organizational confusion revealed in the emails.

"The bad news is, there's been some lackluster regulation and enforcement," he says. "The good news is they seem to be - have been - spurred to action."

Choke Canyon is one of three legs in Corpus Christi's water supply chain. The City of Corpus Christi owns the water and the Bureau of Reclamation manages the dam. 

Our previous report highlighted the fact that not only is oil and gas exploration and production going on around the lake, which is in the area known as the Eagle Ford Shale, but that horizontal fracking wells extend from the shoreline well into the lake bed, according to Railroad Commission Maps.

Interested parties voiced concern over the issue when Bureau of Reclamation officials announced plans to lease land for drilling that is located next to and beneath Choke Canyon waters.  The City of Corpus Christi along with several state lawmakers have protested the proposed sale which remains on the schedule for early June.

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