You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Year in review: Eagle Ford shale has major impact
WILLIAM J. GIBBS JR.
Oil rig towers like this one standing tall above the landscape in Bee County are becoming a common sight throughout South Texas, as energy companies stake claim to deposits of oil and natural gas that lie deep underground in a formation known as the Eagle Ford shale.
FLORESVILLE -- Not since the Great Depression has a singular event impacted the economy of Wilson County as much as the Eagle Ford shale play and hydraulic fracturing technology.
Change has come to be the norm for South Central Texas as the shale formation and new extraction methods have brought massive influxes of revenue and increased demand on local businesses. This has caused local communities to work to grapple with the changes.
One major characteristic of the Eagle Ford boom is growth. Population growth has been substantial, as oilfield companies of all sizes are beginning to call the Wilson County area home.
Marathon Oil is one of the bigger companies making an impact on the area. These companies, and the smaller firms that service them, have contributed to a population increase that has affected everything from housing to tax rates.
The migration of workers into Wilson County made the demand for housing skyrocket. With the supply unable to keep up with the ever-increasing demand, housing prices soared and temporary housing solutions, such as hotels, motels, lodges, and recreational-vehicle (RV) parks, are springing up everywhere.
Housing was not the only concern in 2012 with regard to the Eagle Ford shale. Other issues, such as damages to local roads and the impact on area communities, took center stage as the growth was addressed throughout the year.
One local entity, the Wilson County Farm Bureau, passed a resolution to address the erosion of Wilson County roads due to the increased traffic from oil-field loads and large trucks.
The resolution would bring to oil-producing communities 25 percent of the money that would normally go to the state for its rainy-day fund from the sale or production of a barrel of oil.
Local schools have not been immune to the impact of the oil boom. Some have seen growth of close to 10 percent. Some companies, such as Dial Lubricants, have offered contributions to Wilson County school districts to help offset the attendant costs spurred by the increased student population.
Dial Lubricants offered to give the Poth Independent School District (ISD) the necessary tanks to supply fuel to district vehicles.
The population growth, along with more people conducting business in the region, has led to many communities enjoying an increase in sales-tax revenues.
Many local entities, such as Stockdale and Floresville, included the projected increase in sales-tax revenues in their budgets.
In Floresville, the hotel/motel line item in the city budget reflected a substantial expected increase in tax revenue, attributed to the Eagle Ford shale.
Stockdale has seen steady increases in sales-tax revenues since 2010, when revenues were about $8,000 per month; in 2012, April proceeds were more than $15,000.
Due to the increase in RV parks and lodges in the area, many cities have adopted ordinances to regulate businesses which, prior to the Eagle Ford boom, had not seen significant regulation.
Floresville, for example, has placed a moratorium on all special-use permits, which property owners had used to obtain permission to build RV and mobile-home parks. The moratorium is in place until such time as a comprehensive growth plan can be drafted by the Planning and Zoning Commission and adopted by the city council.
Despite the benefits of the Eagle Ford shale, the continued expansion of oil and related operations has led to communities raising concerns over environmental issues.
Residents in the Stockdale and La Vernia areas joined forces to oppose proposed waste-handling facilities, such as injection wells, related to the oil industry.
An application to increase the volume of an injection well off F.M. 539 near La Vernia drew sharp criticism from local community members, who expressed concerns over local water supplies, such as the Carrizo/Wilcox Aquifer and Cibolo Creek. The applicant, Patrick Marable of Geomeg, eventually withdrew his application, although his well continues to pump produced water into the ground at current levels.
Stockdale property owners also banded together at a November meeting with State Sen. Judith Zaffirini to fight three proposed injection well sites. Several solutions were discussed at the meeting, including a proposal for oil companies to recycle the fracturing or brine water used in hydraulic fracturing.
With 2012 in the rearview mirror and the new year promising more growth, Wilson County and area communities continue to assess the benefits and issues associated with being in the center of an oil boom.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Section A: General News Archives
Agencies nab 7 in human-trafficking sting (February 10, 2016)
Apply now for Miss La Vernia Pageant (February 10, 2016)
Behind the lens: Hitting the trail (February 10, 2016)
BPA students advance to state (February 10, 2016)
Bud Box ends two-decade career at alternative school (February 10, 2016)
Chamber to hold monthly luncheon (February 10, 2016)
China Grove mayor, police chief clash (February 10, 2016)
Commissioners amend Kicaster-area fire coverage plan (February 10, 2016)
Court Update (February 10, 2016)
Dating and the budget (February 10, 2016)
Donate blood to save lives (February 10, 2016)
Editorial: It’s about ‘We the People’ … what will ‘we’ do? (February 10, 2016)
Editorial: National election: Iowa down, New Hampshire to go (February 10, 2016)
Firefighters plan Pancake Breakfast (February 10, 2016)
Floresville mayor to councilman: Sit down or else (February 10, 2016)
Floresville park’s erosion problems prompt action (February 10, 2016)
Free heart health screenings (February 10, 2016)
H-E-B ice cream recall (February 10, 2016)
La Vernia trustees consider $33.2M bond, approve new finance chief (February 10, 2016)
Lean meat still part of a heart-healthy diet (February 10, 2016)
Letter: House fire victim extends gratitude (February 10, 2016)
Letter: Pastors should keep out of politics, stay in church (February 10, 2016)
Letter: Unruly government needs discipline (February 10, 2016)
Letter: Writer says it’s okay to ignore the charter (February 10, 2016)
Meeting Watch: Evergreen Underground Water Conservation District (February 10, 2016)
Meeting Watch: Floresville Planning & Zoning Commission (February 10, 2016)
Meeting Watch: St. Hedwig City Council (February 10, 2016)
Oil, gas leasing workshop Feb. 22 (February 10, 2016)
One-stop tax shop? (February 10, 2016)
Petition supporters plan protest rally (February 10, 2016)
Police Blotter (February 10, 2016)
Presidents’ Day office closures (February 10, 2016)
Register for Great American Cleanup (February 10, 2016)
Save the date for ‘Hope in High Cotton’ (February 10, 2016)
Should Christians support sanctuary for illegal aliens? (February 10, 2016)
Stockdale supports apartment venture (February 10, 2016)
Things are looking up in downtown Stockdale (February 10, 2016)
‘Official oppression’ or ‘criminal trespass’? (February 10, 2016)
Agencies uncover $400K in stolen vehicles, parts (February 3, 2016)
China Grove begins vote on tax rollback (February 3, 2016)
Clock running out for Floresville recall issue (February 3, 2016)
Connally expands high-tech health care (February 3, 2016)
Council action changes boards (February 3, 2016)
Court Update (February 3, 2016)
Deputies charge Floresville spurned lover with arson (February 3, 2016)
Deputies investigate recent thefts (February 3, 2016)
Editorial: The demand for villains (February 3, 2016)
Editorial: What’s in a city charter? Is it like a … Constitution? (February 3, 2016)
Eight-liner opponents face deadline (February 3, 2016)
FELPS pools tornado damage claim with city, Floresville ISD (February 3, 2016)
Floresville USDA accountant resigns (February 3, 2016)
Free CERT disaster course (February 3, 2016)
Get a free heart health screening in Kenedy Feb. 12 (February 3, 2016)
Greater LV Chamber to meet (February 3, 2016)
H-E-B recalls cookware (February 3, 2016)
Hold on for now (February 3, 2016)
It’s all happening at Nixon-Smiley Elementary (February 3, 2016)
Kicaster area will have fire coverage (February 3, 2016)
Landfill welcomes China Grove junk (February 3, 2016)
Letter: Apple Pie author extends thanks (February 3, 2016)
Letter: Gonzales differs with writer’s conclusion (February 3, 2016)
Letter: Talamantez truly a man of the people (February 3, 2016)
Life Line Screening event set in Floresville Feb. 28 (February 3, 2016)
Mock Republican Debate Feb. 20 (February 3, 2016)
Nixon-Smiley livestock show set for March (February 3, 2016)
One dead in game-room robbery (February 3, 2016)
Pioneer Award honors Burnside (February 3, 2016)
Pirates Cove in Poth offers after-school care service (February 3, 2016)
Police Blotter (February 3, 2016)
Save the date for Lincoln Dinner (February 3, 2016)
School district cops ink deal with city, county (February 3, 2016)
Second responders to meet (February 3, 2016)
Stockdale, La Vernia units respond to back-to-back fires (February 3, 2016)
Tanneberger is top agent (February 3, 2016)
Weigh in on Loop 410 changes (February 3, 2016)
Wilson County Hermann Sons lodges meet new-member goal (February 3, 2016)
‘Loving’ heart-shaped treats are for the birds (February 3, 2016)