Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Oil Companies are Destroying our Roads!

As a Grady County land owner with a few mineral interests, I like to think that I can be objective when it comes to dealing with the detrimental effects of the SCOOP (South Central Oklahoma Oil Province).  As a neighbor to three new oil wells, I have learned firsthand what NIMBY (Not in my back yard) really means.  The company EOG Resources (formerly Enron Oil & Gas Company), selected the section to the east of my farm & home to drill three new oil wells.  As of the date of this letter, two of the wells have been drilled, and I have been told by company representatives that they will be back to drill the third well in a few weeks. 

I could go into detail describing the nuisance of the 24 hour-a-day noise, the negative petroleum odor from spreading sludge on my neighbor's pasture, or the constant traffic of hundreds of contractors; many of which miss the turn for the well site and/or ignore the "dead end" sign thinking it might actually be a through road.  (It isn't.)
My greatest concern, however, is the damage that has been done to the County Road I live on, and EOG Resources' lack of interest in repairing the damage they have caused.  Initially, when constructing the pad for the second well site, EOG Resources hired contractors that completely disregarded the weight limits on the 80-year old bridges they crossed.  They were forced to construct a road through my neighbor's pasture to access the second well, but the county blacktop road has been pulverized into a black powdery mess.  I concede that the road hasn't been on the County's high priority list, and had some avoidable potholes prior to the Oil Companies' abuse, however, the damage at the entrance to the well sites now encompasses about 80% of the road, making it one big pothole.   There can be no mistake as to the cause of this degeneration.

I have appealed to the County Commissioner's, who said all of their roads look like that now, and there is nothing they can do.  It seems that the only money that comes back from Oil Companies to help with County Roads is from Gross Production Tax, which doesn't come for at least a couple of years after the rigs are gone, and won't be sufficient to replace or repair all of the roads & bridges that have been destroyed.  

I understand that the SCOOP is good for the mineral owners, and good for our local economy, but when oil companies with deep pockets are allowed to destroy county roads with no accountability, it seems that questioning their "good faith" is in order, as well as a better solution.

Cody White

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