The City of Oklahoma City is considering letting an oil company drill out at Lake Hefner.
Pedestal Oil Company has asked for permission to put one or more wells at a site on the south side of the lake. The proposed building site would be between the walking trail and the lake, northwest of NW 68th St. and Portland Ave.
“I just don't think it's a safe thing to do,” said Dale Birchette, the President of the Friends of Lake Hefner.
His organization represents recreational users and local neighborhoods that surround the lake.
“There are going to be big trucks on small roads where there is a lot of bicycle traffic, a lot of foot traffic, people walking and jogging and walking their dogs and playing with their kids,” said Birchette.
Those who live just 1,500 feet to the south are worried about the light and noise issue. Not to mention that the lake is a major source of the city's water and a spill could be catastrophic.
“Is it that important that we get that oil out of the ground from that location versus potentially damaging part of our water supply?” asked Birchette.
The city says the proposal was unsolicited and the first step to considering it is a public meeting where anyone can get more information and express their concerns.
Pedestal Oil proposed putting an oil well at Lake Hefner back in 2011, but at that time the proposal didn't meet the site requirements. This is the revised proposal.
OKC Utilities spokesperson Debbie Regan said the proposal is worth considering since the city would make a lot of money on the well, which in turn would be pumped into improvements at all three lake reservations. Birchette agrees that's tempting.
“It's a very difficult decision because we would really like to see some money put into the natural aspects of the lake,” he said.
But all of the people Birchette represents are clear; they want to put a cap on this proposal.
The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 18 at 6 p.m. at the Will Rogers conservatory, located at 3400 NW 36th St.