Sunday, February 10, 2013

Our Fracking Future

Surprising San Angelo is about to be fracked up.  Local leaders met to discuss four areas:  workforce availability and assistance, education and training, housing and lodging, and economic development.  Who's working on roads, water, health care and public safety?  It's hard to tell, but here are my thoughts

Roads - negative
The State of Texas and San Angelo under invested in roads the last decade, which each will readily admit.  Heavy oil field equipment will accelerate asphalt breakdown. 

Public Safety - negative
DPS Officer Shawn Baxter said Midland/Odessa had been added to his responsibilities.  He noted the magnitude of issues DPS officers face in the area.  He cited frequent, major traffic accidents and safety situations he termed "absolutely bizarre."

Water - mostly negative
San Angelo already has a precarious water situation.  Adding water heavy fracking to this load is concerning.   Also, where will drillers dispose of toxic frack water?.

The owner of the brine sea of groundwater around Mertzon is excited about fracking.  This is the same salty water  the City of San Angelo once pondered desalinating. 

Healthcare - negative
San Angelo's physician capacity is as precarious as our water situation.  A major increase in population will stress health care access.  Many physician practices aren't taking new Medicaid patients.  Others won't take new patients of any kind.  This sends people to area Emergency Rooms for care. 

Major traffic accidents in the Cline field will send more trauma to those same Emergency Rooms. 

While the Cline Shale Boom smells like money to many, it's the very thing that could destroy San Angelo's unique attractiveness. 

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