Senate Bill requires oil industry to file permit for water

The area groundwater districts and the oil and gas industry are pressing the state legislature to influence what bills may get through related to water drilling permits.

Senate Bill 873 is one such piece of legislation that would require a company involved in hydrolic fracturing, or "fracking" to get a drilling permit from the local groundwater conservation district. Right now companies drilling for oil are exempt if the waterâ??s used in the drilling or exploration process.

Representatives of area groundwater districts are generally in favor of requiring a permit because of the finite amount of water available in the Ogallala Aquifer. And fracking has brought about new practices.

Janet Guthrie, General Manager of the Hemphill County Underwater Conservation District says, "What we're seeing here in Hemphill County is they'll be using what they call a frack pit.ã?? And they'll be pumping water out of this frack pit and sending it to multiple rigs located throughout their lease and in their fields.ã?? And that water coming out of the pit will be used for drilling and it will be used for fracturing at the same time

Some bills in the legislature are intended to clarify the practice of fracking by defining it in terms of drilling and exploration or production. Production is generally not exempt from a permit requirement.