The “Best Practices Handbook to Assist Communities in the Eagle Ford Shale” is designed to be a guide for local leaders to bring together into one document best practices of other communities who have had similar experiences. SARA will distribute the handbook to local elected leaders and city and county staffs throughout Wilson, Karnes and Goliad counties.
SARA developed a second edition of the handbook after initiating a collaborative review process with the South Texas Energy & Economic Roundtable (STEER), the Texas Railroad Commission, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas Department of Transportation and local community leaders. Given the rapid changes brought about by the continuing growth of the Eagle Ford Shale play, SARA took this action to ensure the handbook is comprehensive and responsive to the needs of the communities it serves.
“SARA supports the continued economic growth brought by the Eagle Ford Shale play, yet it recognizes that sustainable practices can balance costs while supporting the ecosystem of the rivers and creeks within the San Antonio River Watershed,” said SARA General Manager Suzanne Scott.
The handbook focuses on best practices that preserve and enhance water quality; land use practices that preserve natural watershed functions to manage stormwater quality and quantity; road infrastructure; and floodplain land use and development issues that frequently accompany rapid growth associated with successful oil and gas exploration.
“STEER, established by oil and gas operators who have a vested interest in the Eagle Ford Shale communities, is committed to working collaboratively with South Texas entities like SARA,” said STEER President Omar Garcia. “Launched in October 2012, STEER was in its formative stages when the first edition of the Eagle Ford Shale handbook was developed. Since then, STEER has worked with SARA on the second edition. We look forward to a long-term, strong partnership with SARA as we continue to see positive momentum and economic and infrastructure development in the region.”
According to a recent study performed by the Center for Community and Business Research at the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Institute for Economic Development, oil production alone has tripled from 2011 to 2012.
SARA is developing a holistic watershed masterplan for Wilson, Karnes and Goliad counties in addition to this ordinance handbook. SARA has also hosted workshops throughout its watershed. The purpose of these activities has been to encourage best practices and the implementation of sustainable development of the production sites as well as development in the communities.
“We want to ensure we address anything that impacts our watershed, from water quality to floodplain management, stormwater, groundwater, land use, pipeline crossings and disposal wells,” said SARA Senior Engineer Melissa Bryant. “We’re looking at all these concerns holistically and strategically, so that the economic benefits of shale drilling can be reaped without affecting the San Antonio River Watershed.”
The “Best Practices Handbook to Assist Communities in the Eagle Ford Shale” can be downloaded from SARA’s website at www.sara-tx.org.