Midland Residents Speak Out Against RSP Permian Drilling Requests

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - It was a packed house at the Midland city council meeting Tuesday morning.

Homeowners in a northwest neighborhood showed up to speak out against an oil company seeking permits to drill oil and gas wells in their neighborhood.

"It's unsafe, y'all know it's unsafe. There's H-2-S gas," resident Steven Rey said.

"Y'all have already turned down one. Why would y'all even consider five?" another resident said.

Tensions were high Tuesday morning in round two of homeowners versus RSP Permian.

The oil company is asking Midland city council for five drilling permits in a northwest neighborhood.

"It's right behind nine established homes with children living in each one of those homes," Rey said.

Rey, along with several others, says he's worried about oil field traffic in the area, noise and their safety, especially their health.

"People get hurt all the time, things are spilled, gases are released, radiation is piled on top of the ground to blow around," Rey said.

It's a fight these residents aren't giving up easily.

Things quickly got heated once the public hearings began.

"We're talking about six months to a year of hearing that block, on and on, all day," one concerned woman said. "The kids that ride their bikes up and down the street forget it. The people that take their walks, forget it"

"How are y'all gonna protect our property," resident Rosale Bohannon said.

Bohannon said safety is her biggest issue.

"Eighty to 90 % of them are either ex-convicts or drug dealers, excuse me not dealers, they use drugs," Bohannon said. "My problem is after the rigs come and gone, who's gonna protect our property?"

But RSP didn't back down either.

"We believe that the rights of the surface owners don't always trump the rights of the mineral owners," Steve Gray, an RSP Permian representative, said. "We are simply applying for permits to drill on a ten acre plat of land that we own."

Earlier this year, council rejected a previous permit request from RSP near the same area.

The company said they've since made changes to their request.

"In the process we plan to use sound walls and fencing, and landscaping that all go above the minimums that the city requires," Gray said.

But that's still not enough for residents.

"It's a stop-gap measure to get the city council to vote in their way," Rey said.

"They can paint it anyway they wanna look but I think enough is enough, resident Robert Simpson said. "It's not right for some citizens to suffer."

No action was taken on the requests on Tuesday. City Council will consider the permits sometime next month.