RSP Permian Gets Two Drilling Permits Approved, Residents Unhappy About Decision

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - Some Tall City homeowners are upset after a controversial vote passes in the Midland City Council meeting.

Oil company, RSP Permian, asked the city for five permits to drill wells in a Northwest Midland neighborhood.

"This is wrong," resident, Robert Slagle, said. "It's wrong for Midland and there is no reason why they have to destroy a property."

Tensions were high Tuesday morning during the Midland City Council meeting. Residents angrily walked out after two of five drilling permits were approved for oil company RSP Permian.

"It's just as bad to approve two of them, might as well approve them all," Slagle said.

The move passed in a 4-3 vote.

Councilman Michael Trost voted against all five permits.

"I fought hard, I made some good points," Trost said. "I tried to represent my constituents. It's a vote. It takes four votes either way and that's what happened today."

The issue has been an ongoing battle for homeowners living off Roadrunner and Coyote Trail.

Slagle said his home is within 600 feet of a proposed well site. He and several others voiced their concerns about noise, traffic and safety.

"This is the entrance to this development," Slagle said. "It's a downgrade of this area."

Homeowners said they expect their property values to plunge.

Mayor Wes Perry said the issue was a controversial one.

"It's very emotional," Perry said. "The folks on the RSP side are pretty passionate as well."

But the fight may go on. At the meeting, RSP Permian told the Council they don't plan on drilling anywhere else in the area. However, if any of their requests were denied, they might try again in the future.

"There's a process even after that so it's their call at this point," Perry said. "If they wanna reapply then we can vote on them again.

"I would not be at all surprised if they come back and request," resident, Craig Tellinghuisen, said.

Although Tellinghuisen doesn't want any drilling, he's pleased with how both sides handled the situation.

"The oil company did show some good faith efforts to modify from their original plan," Tellinghuisen said.

Even so, some homeowners feel defeated but Councilman Trost is offering words of encouragement.

"It's your neighborhood, fight on." Trost said.

RSP Permian sent NewsWest 9 this statement: "We appreciate that two permits were approved, but since our development plan required all five to be approved, we will have to consider all of our options, from immediate drilling to legal action, to recuperate lost revenue from the wells that were denied. It may also mean that we have to consider drilling in other parts of the neighborhood since we won't be able to use the island development plan we proposed. We are disappointed and surprised at today's vote." - Steven Gray, Co-CEO of RSP Permian.