Residents Relieved after Proposed Drilling Site is Denied
MCALLEN - Several McAllen residents said they are relieved the city commission denied a permit to an oil and gas company that wanted to drill near a neighborhood.
Texakoma wanted to drill in North McAllen, but people living near the site said no and the city followed lead.
McAllen resident Phil Fletcher and his neighbors live south of Northgate Lane, between Main and 10th streets.
“Our health and safety is the most foremost thing that we’re worried about. I mean, we’re literally in walking distance of this well where it’s proposed,” he said.
They all received notice from the city of McAllen about the company’s plans for the area. Texakoma company representative assured residents the well wouldn’t be there long and wouldn’t affect their lives.
But residents disagreed and voiced concerns about water contamination.
“Everyone right here has got water wells, and that’s how we take care of our land. As you can see it’s very green because we take care of it. Maybe that will be gone after a while or it will be contaminated with something else,” he said.
Others were worried about the noise, safety of their animals and the risk for accidents.
“I don’t know that much about drilling but the potential is there… This is close to a residential area. I don’t think it’s worth the risk,” he said.
The McAllen city commission could have granted a variance to the drilling company against the residents’ will. But they chose not to.
McAllen Mayor Jim Darling said the company could always re-apply for the permit.
“The way it would obviously come back is if they move it away from that one house within the 400 feet and try if that way. But I think they move it closer to 10th Street, there’s some more issues there as to proximity of that well,” he said.
For now, residents said they’re happy nothing will change.
The city of McAllen has an ordinance that requires any drilling company to get permission from anyone living within 400 feet of a drilling site. If even one person disagrees, it’s all up to the city commission to decide whether to let the permit process go forward.