The federal Bureau of Land Management, auctioned acreage that spans underneath Lake Somerville, which is Brenham’s source for drinking water. The auction went on despite avid protests of the local interest group known as Texas Rural Voices, as well as the City of Brenham. The auction was held on June 6th, and the three-hour online auction kicked off at 10 a.m.
The group held a forum several weeks ago on the potential dangers from drilling on Lake Somerville.
Around 1,400 acres of property in and around the lake were auctioned, including 1,000 that fall within Washington County.
Officials with the Bureau of Land Management say the sale brought in almost $3.5 million. The Bureau did not provide a breakdown on how much the Lake Somerville leases brought.
The protesting parties have emphasized the dangers of potential spills, water contamination and even possible earthquakes that can risk dam integrity. These parties also raised concerns that the new “fracking” of wells can spread pollutants along the faults and fissures to existing wells, which can cause leaks.
The Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman, Donna Hummel out of New Mexico’s office, did issue a statement: “I do know there are a lot of concerns about some of the parcels. We are still working through those protests and we will not issue any leases until those are either upheld or dismissed.”
Backlash has been strong, including Environment Texas director Luke Metzger, who stated. “I can’t believe the gall of oil companies trying to frack in and around drinking water supplies. We can’t risk ruining these lakes to let ‘big oil’ make a few more bucks. The communities stand opposed to these dangerous lease sales, and BLM should withdraw them.”