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SARA releases Eagle Ford shale handbook
SAN ANTONIO -- The San Antonio River Authority (SARA) announced it is releasing a new, comprehensive handbook to help communities affected by oil and gas exploration.
The Best Practices Handbook to Assist Communities in the Eagle Ford Shale is designed to be a guide for local leaders to bring together into one document best practices of other communities who have had similar experiences. SARA will distribute the handbook to local elected leaders and city and county staffs throughout Wilson, Karnes, and Goliad counties.
SARA developed a second edition of the handbook after initiating a collaborative review process with the South Texas Energy & Economic Roundtable, the Texas Railroad Commission, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas Department of Transportation, and local community leaders. Given the rapid changes brought about by the continuing growth of the Eagle Ford shale play, the river authority took this action to ensure the handbook is comprehensive and responsive to the needs of the communities it serves.
The handbook focuses on best practices that preserve and enhance water quality; land use practices that preserve natural watershed functions to manage storm water quality and quantity; road infrastructure; and flood-plain land use and development issues that frequently accompany rapid growth associated with successful oil and gas exploration.
According to a recent study performed by the Center for Community and Business Research at the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Institute for Economic Development, oil production alone tripled from 2011 to 2012.
The river authority is developing a holistic watershed master plan for Wilson, Karnes, and Goliad counties in addition to this ordinance handbook. SARA has also hosted workshops throughout its watershed. The purpose of these activities has been to encourage best practices and the implementation of sustainable development of the production sites as well as development in the communities.
“We want to ensure we address anything that impacts our watershed, from water quality to flood-plain management, stormwater, groundwater, land use, pipeline crossings, and disposal wells,” said SARA Senior Engineer Melissa Bryant. “We’re looking at all these concerns holistically and strategically, so that the economic benefits of shale drilling can be reaped without affecting the San Antonio River Watershed.”
The Best Practices Handbook to Assist Communities in the Eagle Ford Shale can be downloaded from SARA’s website at www.sara-tx.org.
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