From the Office of State Senator Troy Fraser

For Immediate Release
February 16, 2007
Contact: Daniel Womack
(512) 463-0124


AUSTIN -- State Senator Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) filed legislation on Friday to require oil and gas companies to report the amount of water they are using to local groundwater districts. The legislation comes as a result of an interim study conducted by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources.

"This legislation will require oil and gas companies which are 'fracturing' the aquifer to report the total amount of water to the local groundwater district," Fraser said. "It is important that all districts know how much water is being used for planning purposes."

Recent oil and gas exploration from the Barnett Shale and development in the recharge zone of the Trinity Aquifer have led to increased pumping of the aquifer. These activities have raised concerns on how groundwater pumping has and will affect water levels in the aquifer.

Current law provides an exemption from a groundwater district's permitting and spacing requirements for the drilling of certain water supply wells used solely for the drilling or exploration operations of oil or gas wells. Because this exemption exists in law, no state agency is monitoring the pumping of groundwater associated with these operations.

"The state has said the preferred method of groundwater control is on the local level, but yet the districts are not getting all of the information," Fraser said. "This bill will ensure that districts receive reports monthly from operators that will help them manage the resource for the long term."

The bill also provides that oil and gas operators must cap wells when they are finished unless they are going to adhere to the groundwater districts spacing requirements. "Spacing requirements are also not taken into account by these operations," Fraser said. "If wells are not appropriately spaced then a nearby well could be damaged as a result of the amount of water someone is pumping."

Also on Friday, Fraser filed legislation to increase notice requirements for a commercial disposal well. The bill would require disposal well applicants to give notice to each adjoining surface owners as well as the county judge. In addition, it requires notice in the newspaper of largest circulation in the county.

The bill numbers are as follows: Senate Bill 714 is relating to the requirements applicable to a water well located in a groundwater conservation district and used in connection with certain oil or gas well operations; Senate Bill 715 is relating to notice of an application for a permit to dispose of oil and gas waste in a commercial disposal well; creating an offense.

Senator Fraser represents a 21-county region in the geographic center of the state. He is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce. He also sits on the following standing Senate Committees: Finance, State Affairs, and International Relations and Trade.