Midland County Reacts To Fight Over Pecos County Water

By Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

FORT STOCKTON/MIDLAND - A Fort Stockton City Councilman throws more fuel on the fire in the fight over groundwater in Pecos County. He's calling for a boycott of Midland if Texas Oilman Clayton Williams gets his way. On Wednesday, a Midland County Judge told NewsWest 9 his point-of-view.

As NewsWest 9 reported on Tuesday, the Fort Stockton City Council approved two resolutions against Clayton Williams and his company, Fort Stockton Holdings. The move is meant to stop Williams and his company from taking water from his land just outside of Fort Stockton to sell it in Midland County. On Tuesday, Fort Stockton Councilman Arthur Orona directly challenged Williams and the Midland County Commissioners Court.

"I ask the Midland County Commissioners to reconsider and rescind their decision to create the Midland County Freshwater Supply District, number one, before I encourage the citizens of Pecos County and all surrounding counties to start boycotting Midland, TX, and tend to their business and personal needs elsewhere to another community," Councilman Orona said.

On Wednesday, Midland County Judge Mike Bradford said he hopes Orona will rethink his comments. Bradford said it's an emotional reaction. He said Midland County is not going after Fort Stockton's water. Under the law, Bradford said the court simply approved creating a special water district to allow a private company (Fort Stockton Holdings, L.P.) to sell water. Bradford explained it's up to Pecos County and Fort Stockton to handle their water.

"So, this is nothing more than a company coming to us asking to do business in our County under the statues of special districts," Bradford said. "We have a function to say yes or no.  The court said 'Yes.' We've been asked why didn't we say no. There was no reason to say no."

Also on Wednesday, Clayton Williams company, Fort Stockton Holdings, did issue a statement to NewsWest 9. They said "We are obviously disappointed. We are proud of our Fort Stockton roots." They also stated, "We are committed to going forward. We are looking forward to further discussion."

The next groundwater district meeting is scheduled for January 19 but NewsWest 9 has learned Fort Stockton Holdings is trying to push that back to February. It appears the conflict is far from over.