(Harrison)-Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has appointed a third commissioner to the Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
The appointment will allow the commission to vote on an application for a fracking wastewater injection well in Sioux County at a public hearing to be held in Sidney on March 24 at 10 a.m. John Rundel, from Trenton, Nebraska, was appointed Friday by Ricketts.
Rundel Geological Service, of which Rundel is a known partner, provides oil and gas extraction products and service to the region around Trenton. The appointment of Rundel will expire on Sept. 28, 2015.
The hearing had been postponed previously because the commission only had two of the needed three commissioners.
The proposal for a fracking wastewater injection well in southern Sioux County has been a subject of a lot controversy, with ongoing public meetings and community concern across Western Nebraska.
One of the commissioners, Tom Oliver, said the hearing will be conducted similar to a court of law, where only the interested parties are allowed to present evidence. According to the law, those parties must own property within a half mile of the disposal well.
“It’s not just a public meeting where people can get up and give comments,” Oliver said. “It’s a legal hearing that has proper procedures.”
Those interested parties can spend as much time as they want presenting evidence, Oliver said. The three commissioners will make a determination.
“If we’re wrong they can make an appeal,” says Oliver.
The news that only landowners within a half mile radius can testify at the hearing is infuriating a lot of Western Nebraskans, especially those in Sioux County.
Several Harrison residents say that a lot of people were going to go down to Sidney and testify in opposition to Terex’s application for the disposal well.
The landowners in the half mile radius are elderly, and that may be intimidating for them.
In any case, the fate of the proposed well will be decided on Tuesday.
--Part of this story made possible by the Scottsbluff Star Herald