GCD Protest of a Texas RRC Injection Well Permit Application
1. GCD Protest of a Texas RRC
Injection Well Permit Application
Fritz, Byrne, Head & Fitzpatrick, PLLC
Phone number: 512.476.2020
15 days to request RRC hearing after date
of newspaper publication of pending
No mailed notice to GCD
Do not miss deadline to protest-cite
jurisdiction over groundwater in protest
3. POST PROTEST LETTER
Obtain docket from RRC website
GCD will be placed on RRC mailing list for
correspondence on application
Obtain detailed files from RRC records room-
use RRC search service?
Have GCD consultants determine whether
protest is warranted
4. POST PROTEST LETTER
After application review, contact applicant to
discuss GCD’s concerns
Coordinate hearing date for mutually convenient
time, if no settlement with applicant
Applicant required to coordinate with protestants
on hearing date
Most applicants will settle on reasonable terms to
avoid hearing and lengthy delay
6. CONTINUANCE OF HEARING
Need to request continuance at least 5 days
before hearing date
If no coordination on hearing date by
applicant, continuance will be granted
7. STANDING FOR HEARING
Need to be affected person
Suggest live GCD witness
Suggest Board resolution
Better yet- adopt rule allowing G.M. to
protest RRC injection well applications
No standing if proposal injection well not
in GCD jurisdiction-Marathon case
8. SAMPLE GCD DISPOSAL WELL RULES
Rule – Review of Applications. “In order to protect the water quality of the
aquifers within the District, the District shall review applications submitted
to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Texas
Railroad Commission for disposal wells or injection well proposed to be
located within the District boundaries. For purposes of this rule, injection
wells and disposal wells will be referred to as disposal wells.”
Rule-Authority of the General Manager. “The General Manager is
authorized to seek party status in contested case hearings regarding
disposal wells on behalf of the District. Furthermore, the General Manager
is authorized to engage technical and legal consultants to support the
District’s review and/or protest of disposal well applications. The General
Manager and his or her agents are authorized to negotiate with
applicants for proposed disposal wells, prior to a contested hearing, in an
attempt to resolve the concerns of the District regarding the proposed
disposal well activity.”
9. HEARING ISSUES
Chapter 27.051(b) Texas Water Code
The RRC may grant an injection well permit IF it finds:
A. The use or installation is in the public interest,
B. The use or installation will not endanger or injure any oil, gas, or
other mineral formation,
C. With proper safeguards both ground and surface fresh water can be
adequately protected from pollution,
D. Satisfactory showing of financial responsibility.
Also, injected fluids must be confined to permitted disposal zone.
10. TYPICAL HEARING ISSUES
Do logs establish fluids will be retained in disposal interval?
Are there upper and lowering confining boundaries?
Are migration pathways present to usable groundwater?
Are wells in close proximity properly cased?
Is there an industry need for this injection well at this location?
Is secondary containment of the surface facilities adequate?
12. ITEMS FOR SETTLEMENT
Enhanced secondary containment
Surface casing to depth of underground source of drinking water (less than 10,000
Application provides protestant cement bond log to confirm placement of cement
Cement entire length of long string casing
Installation of open valves with permanent functioning gauges on each annulus of
well to monitor pressure.