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Supreme Court won’t rehear well case

By Brian Knox | Published Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Texas Supreme Court has refused to rehear a case involving a commercial injection well opposed by a group of citizens in Greenwood.

Jim Popp, chairman of the group Texas Citizens for a Safe Future and Clean Water, said he received confirmation from his attorney Wednesday that the Texas Supreme Court had denied a request to rehear the case that involved the Texas Railroad Commission and the citizens’ group.

The court ruled in March in favor of the Railroad Commission, allowing Pioneer Exploration to move forward with plans to build a saltwater injection well near the intersection of County Roads 2625 and 2735.

The ruling essentially means the end of a six-year crusade by the citizen’s group to keep the well out of their neighborhood.

Although disappointed, Popp said he hopes that the group’s efforts have inspired people to stand up against the Railroad Commission and the oil and gas industry.

“When the ‘powers to be’ in Texas finally wake up to the fact that this is about the future health and well-being of all Texas citizens and not just the financial gain of the oil and gas industry, and that both of those goals can be successfully accomplished at the same time, with just a few changes in the system as it is today, we will all be much safer and better off,” Popp said. “Our fight will have been a major part of getting the end fight off the ground and accomplishing that ultimate goal, when it is finally reached.

“As I’ve said before many times, all of us want a very prosperous oil and gas industry in our area, but we also want it to be safe for all Texas citizens, too, and not just mean financial gain for that industry at the expense of the health and well being of present and future generations of Texans.”

Pioneer filed an application for a permit to build a commercial saltwater injection well in the spring of 2005. The citizen’s group was formed to protest the application.

After the Railroad Commission approved Pioneer’s permit in February of 2006, the group filed a lawsuit, claiming Pioneer had made errors in the original application, was given extra time by the Railroad Commission to correct those errors and had not considered the traffic dangers as part of the public interest.

In December of 2006, 126th District Judge Gisela Triana affirmed the Railroad Commission’s decision to issue the injection well permit.

In 2007, an appeals court reversed Triana’s decision, and the Railroad Commission appealed that ruling to the Texas Supreme Court.

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