GRAND PRAIRIE — A move by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to protect its dam at Joe Pool Lake is leading to a showdown with state regulators over who controls drilling near the reservoir.
Last week, the corps said it is banning drilling, including hydraulic fracturing, within 4,000 feet of the dam. The federal agency also said it would limit injection wells to at least five miles from the dam out of fears of “induced seismicity,” or tremors triggered by human activities.
Corps officials said the tougher restrictions — which grew out of a study about whether drilling could damage the structural integrity of the dam — went into effect immediately. One corps official said the agency is willing to go to court to enforce them, if necessary.
But in a letter sent to the corps on Thursday, Texas Railroad Commission Executive Director Kimberly Corley questioned the federal agency’s actions, stating that the Railroad Commission has the authority to oversee the oil and gas industry in Texas, including hydraulic fracturing and injection wells.