A new report by Forbes debunks a recent claim of Texas environmentalists that oil and gas activity led to the shutdown of the spring-fed pool at Balmorhea State Park for repairs this summer. The report indicates the repairs to the almost 85-year-old pool are “just what you’d expect in a pool of this age,” with Mark Lockwood, regional West Texas parks director for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, stating:
“A lot of people jumped to those conclusions, but as far as we know, it has nothing to do with the oil boom or earthquakes. The area where we had the problem is under the high dive, near the main exit spot for the water. We end up with a lot of swirling water that erodes the side of the pool.”
Environmentalists have been falsely claiming that oil and gas development have led to earthquakes which damaged the pool. TexNet, Texas’ monitoring service for seismicity, shows no activity in Balmorhea this year.
Forbes went on to highlight the lengths Apache Corporation have gone to ensure their operations had minimal impact on the local environment:
“But there’s a very good reason why most Balmorhea residents are satisfied with the oil and gas development taking place around them: From the outset of its operation, Apache has worked closely with local officials, academics and regulators to ensure its Alpine High operations have minimal impacts to the region’s environment. As I wrote in a piece on the Alpine High in October, 2016, Apache entered into a partnership with The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) to conduct a baseline groundwater study within weeks of announcing its discovery.”
Apache Corp. Vice President Castlen Kennedy emphasized the steps they have taken to prevent impact to fresh groundwater aquifers in the region:
“To meet our water needs, we are recycling our own flow back water and are supplementing it with brackish water resources instead of freshwater. We have already built five water recycling systems in the Alpine High region and have developed brackish water sources from the non-potable Rustler aquifer. In Alpine High, our goal is to source 100 percent of the water needed to supplement our recycled produced water program from non-potable water sources.”
This is not the first false claim that environmentalists have hurled at Apache Corp. At a socialist conference last summer, Texas environmental leaders accused Apache Corp. of plans to “dig up” Balmorhea, despite the company’s expressed statements that they would not drill in, under, or around Balmorhea or any nearby springs.