(Neb.)-Safety Of Ogallala Aquifer Prime Concern With Proposed Disposal Well In Sioux County
(Harrison)-During a special meeting of the Sioux County Commissioners Wednesday, February 18 in the morning, the Commissioners spent over an hour listening to many area citizens who oppose the proposed contaminated hydraulic fracking wastewater disposal well in southern Sioux County.
Many concerns were made for the record on the proposal, especially concerns with public health.
A Colorado based energy company named Terex Energy Corporation proposes the well.
Sioux County Rancher Brain Palm, organizer of the opposition to the well, says why he is leading the effort in the opposition. “Our major concern is safety, both for our ground water and surface water. There is a lot of risk in it and not much reward for Sioux County.”
The main concern of the proposed well would be the potential impacts on the Ogallala Aquifer, which lies directly underneath the proposed site. The aquifer supplies fresh drinking water to 82 percent of the 2.3 million people in an approximate eight state region above the aquifer. Another concern is the reputation of the Terex Corporation. Palm has the detail. “Terex is an LLC. They only have a million three in assets. That means it would be hard to get any reimbursements for any damages or spills that would happen due to the lack of assets.”
Another one of the 12 people who testified against the proposed well was Panhandle Public Health District’s Kim Engel. She spoke about several cases around the country where harmful chemicals have been released in drinking water due to wastewater disposal wells. “This is a matter of public health,” says Engel.
Palm summarized the meeting well by saying, “Nobody wants to see Sioux County become a dumping ground for waste.”
After testimony, the Sioux County Commissioners, on a 3 to 0 vote, authorized County Attorney Adam Edmund to compose a letter to the Nebraska Oil and Gas Commission opposing the proposed application for the well.
The Oil and Gas Commission will consider the Terex application during a public hearing in Sidney on March 24 at 10 a.m.
Letters of opinion on the project are due to the Oil and Gas Commission is due 10 days before the hearing. Letters can be sent to: Nebraska Oil and Gas Commission, 922 Illinois, P.O. Box 399, Sidney, NE 69162 or call 308.254.6919.
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