City leaders say they’ve become comfortable with the idea of oil and gas exploration and production beneath the city’s largest reservoir after reassurances from federal officials that there will be tight controls over operators.
However, the environmental group most opposed to the idea says fracking exposes the water to unnecessary risks for contamination.
The Bureau of Reclamation owns the Choke Canyon reservoir and the mineral rights beneath it. The City of Corpus Christi owns the water. In 2017, the government announced plans to open thousands of acres in and around the reservoir to oil and gas interests, paving the way for a new round of drilling.
Back then, city leaders formally protested the decision. Now, they tell us that, while they reserve the right to come back to the table, they’re okay with allowing a proposed December lease sale, to continue.
“We are on record with the Bureau of Land Management for our position with the protest. We always reserve our right to evaluate these leases,” says Steven Ramos, the city’s Water Resource Manager.
The Center for Biological Diversity maintains its stance.
“It’s horrifying that the Trump administration is going through with this lease sale,” writes Wendy Park, a lawyer with the CBD. “Fracking under the reservoir would endanger public health, increase the risk of fracking-induced earthquakes and threaten dam safety. We urge Corpus Christi officials to stand up for their residents’ safety and tell the feds to cancel the lease auction (in December.)”