The commission had approved the oil and gas company’s request in November, but the special meeting, held in
Both efforts failed.
Outgoing Land Commissioner
From the front of the commission’s hearing room, Dunn accused his two counterparts, seated beside him, of rushing through an approval at the expense of land owners and the environment.
“This was a rush deal from a political standpoint, on Hilcorp’s part, so this doesn’t enter the next administration,” he said. “That’s what it looks like.”
“I’m not a political person,” said Balch, director of
The move allows oil and gas outfits to double the number of wells in operation, either by boring new holes or accessing the gas pool through existing ones.
Previously, four wells were allowed per 320-acre tract of the Blanco-Mesaverde. The signed order allows eight.
Oil and gas advocates have hailed the move as a win for economic development in a historically poor corner of the state.
Though Dunn said he expected the outcome,
“It’s always surprising for me when people are able to set aside vital environmental concerns that concern their children and grandchildren,” he said. “That always is surprising and disappointing for me. Today is no exception.”
Schreiber has decried the Hilcorp application as nearly a death knell for an already densely drilled region, which NASA scientists have deemed a hot spot for emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. A cloud of methane the size of
Dunn and an attorney for the
Hilcorp’s application has drawn intense scrutiny statewide — especially from the slate of newly elected or re-elected state Democratic officials.
In advance of the November hearing in which the commission voted to approve Hilcorp’s request, a slew of officials —
Meanwhile, Attorney General
She said Dunn denied a request for notice to be waived, but the hearing went forward anyway.
“The late notification regarding the hearing meant that we could not file a pre-hearing notice to present witnesses,” she said in an email statement this past week.
Schlenker-Goodrich called the move a “
He said he’s hoping things change in the new year.
“For far too long, the oil and gas industry has had carte blanche authority to do what it wants in terms of oil and gas drilling,” he said. “And I think come January there’s a new day in
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