Counties which ring the Eagle Ford Shale oil boom, especially counties along Interstate 35, say they are getting all of the pain but none of the gain from the fracking industry, and they are calling on the Legislature for help, 1200 WOAI news reports.
“Frio County, unfortunately, has more of the disposal industry than the production,” Frio County Legislative Affairs Director Sally Velasquez said. “So what we see is truck traffic used by both of those types, but there is not necessarily the massively high production here.”
She says Frio County, as well as Atascosa, LaSalle, and Webb Counties along I-35, deal with road damage caused by heavy oil vehicles, increases in the pressure on their police, fire, EMS, and public safety services, and increased congestion due to the oil boom, but they don’t get the benefits of the drilling, like the excise taxes, because the oil wells itself are generally east of I-35.
“Revenues, unfortunately, are not there to compensate us for the degradation of our infrastructure,” she said.
Several officials are expressing their concern about what long term impact the truck traffic, and the disposal of fracking liquids will have on the long term economic impact on the county.
“One thing that we would like to see is a fee for each barrel that is being disposed in the county,” she said. “That would at least be a revenue generator which would help us offset some of these costs.”
She said the I-35 counties are also asking for more transportation aid from the state to help repair roads, and, mainly, Velasquez says the counties would like some leeway from the state to establish zoning, so the fracking activities can be managed and controlled. Counties, which are considered sub units of the state, generally do not have what is called ‘home rule’ powers in Texas, and need permission from the Legislature to take these steps.