Fracking Operations Moving Forward Near El Reno School Despite Opposition From Parents, Neighbors

Tuesday, October 22nd 2019, 5:52 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

Operations are moving forward at a fracking site near the Banner School in Canadian County. That's despite the adamant and vocal opposition by both parents and neighbors. 

Parents and neighbors currently have a protest pending in front of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. In general, the commission does not have authority on well locations, but parents are trying every avenue they can to stop the drilling.

Still, students and administrators came back from fall break to find the rig erected about 200 feet from the back fence of the school property.

“When we came back on Monday, we saw what you see right now,” said Superintendent Michael Prior.

Prior and parents said they are concerned about the possibility of an accident or explosion, the noise, traffic, dust and chemicals a fracking operation emits into the air.

“It’s an elementary school, there’s dozens of kids here, so I don’t know why they didn’t just go down the road a little bit,” said Kelsey Bell.

Chaparral Energy said it has gone to considerable expense to be a good neighbor. The company has erected sound barriers, is spraying the site to keep dust down, and is instructing trucks to avoid the road in front of the school.

But there is still a distinct smell. So, to monitor for toxic emissions, Canadian County Emergency Management has installed an air monitoring system. 

Emergency management took a baseline reading in mid-October and will pull the filter for the first test on Friday.

“If something comes up alarming, we will evaluate it at that point and not go outside if that’s the worst-case scenario,” said Prior.

Emergency management hopes to have the results from that first test on Monday.

Meanwhile, the protest in front of an Oklahoma Corporation Commission judge is scheduled for November 20.