Edinburg residents express concern over oil rig drilling in residential area

2 months 1 week 4 days ago Thursday, March 23 2023 Mar 23, 2023 March 23, 2023 8:36 PM March 23, 2023 in News - Local

An oil rig in a residential area in Edinburg is raising eyebrows. 

Raul Marmolego said he’s lived in the Sugar and Wisconsin division for 15 years, and this is the first time he's seen an oil rig near his neighborhood.

He said the oil rig went up last month.

"We were never notified through mail or anything like that, it just popped up one day to the next,” Marmolego said. “At first, I didn't know how to feel. It wasn't until the vibrations came through, the loud noises overnight and eventually smell of gas or oil, and that's when it became a problem."

Channel 5 News investigated and learned that plans for the oil rig were in the works since 2015.

It’s operated by the Corpus Christi based-Royal Production Company Inc., and the property it sits on is privately owned by a local nonprofit.

The company said this oil rig is drilling a third gas well on the property. They filed for a permit for it in 2015, but the Edinburg city council initially denied it.

Royal Production Company Inc. sued the city, and pointed to a state law that does not allow city government to ban or regulate oil and gas operations.

The company won their lawsuit in 2018.

No work had been done on the property until the oil rig showed up.

“I really do wish our city would have sent some type of notice out, if there was a hearing about it, if they knew about it, a simple letter in the mail could have helped,” Marmolego said.

When reached for comment, the city released the following statement:

“On September 15, 2015, the Edinburg City Council voted to deny Royal Production Company Inc.'s permit for a new oil and gas rig in the City. Royal filed suit against the City, and in February 2018 the 370th District Court in Hidalgo County found in favor of Royal. The court ordered the City of Edinburg to issue a permit so that Royal Production Inc. could establish its requested drilling operation, and the City complied with the court's order.”

The company operating the oil rig said crews are operating 24 hours a day. To help alleviate the noise, they installed a sound wall around the oil rig's location, adding that the smell in the area won’t be permanent. 

Royal Production Company Inc. said they should be finished with their work sometime next month.

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