"Oil or Water? Midland Says Disposal Wells Could Threaten Water Supply"

"As oil and gas companies struggle to dispose of their wastewater in the Permian Basin, the city of Midland is challenging applications for disposal wells near one of its drinking water sources."

"Attorneys for the city of Midland, the oil capital of Texas, made an unusual request to regulators this year: Could they please be allowed to challenge drilling permits?

Midland isn’t contesting permits to drill for oil. The city is challenging applications by Pilot Water Solutions to inject oil and gas wastewater deep underground adjacent to the T-Bar Ranch, where Midland gets about 30 percent of its drinking water. City leaders worry that Pilot’s disposal wells could jeopardize their long-term water supply.

The Railroad Commission of Texas, which regulates oil and gas drilling and disposal wells, agreed in June to give Midland standing to challenge the permits. The case will go before a Railroad Commission administrative judge in January 2024. The dispute highlights two rising challenges in West Texas: where to dispose of billions of barrels of toxic oil and gas wastewater and how to get enough freshwater to keep the taps flowing."

Martha Pskowski reports for Inside Climate News November 12, 2023.

Source: Inside Climate News, 11/13/2023