BLM Defers 31,000 Out of 34,000 Acres of Texas Public Lands Up for Auction for 10-Year Drilling Leases

Friday, March 4, 2016

BLM Defers 31,000 Out of 34,000 Acres of Texas Public Lands Up for Auction for 10-Year Drilling Leases

Lewisville Lake and Texas National Foreslands Spared After Public Outcry

Dallas - Today the BLM deferred the auction of 10-year mineral leases for more than 31,000 acres of Texas public lands set for April 20th in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  More than 34,000 acres of parcels on water supply lakes and national forestlands were originally part of the sale.

At risk of drilling were parcels under or near the drinking water supply lakes of Lewisville Lake, Lake Somerville, Lake Conroe, and Choke Canyon Reservoirs.  National forestlands in and around the Davy Crockett National Forest, the Sabine, and Sam Houston National Forest were also up for bid.

Lewisville Lake was the only water supply deferred from the sale.  The BLM deferred the parcel stating that some of the parcel's acreage was located in a local city's jurisdiction. All the forestland parcels were withdrawn by request of the National Forest Service.

"We are happy that the Lewisville Lake parcel has been deferred," commented Rita Beving, North Texas Clean Water Action Outreach Coordinator, "However the public must remain vigilant, as the portion of the Lewisville parcel that doesn't fall into a city's jurisdiction may once again come up for auction.  Likewise, with the 20 parcels that the Forest Service has withdrawn, those parcels could be placed into this auction process again if the Forest Service gives their consent."

"It's a shame that the parcels under or near Lake Somerville, Lake Conroe, and Choke Canyon Reservoirs are even considered for this April 20th sale," noted Beving. "These lakes are valuable drinking water sources for Brenham, Houston, and Corpus Christi.  It doesn't make sense to put these water supply lakes at risk or put people in harm's way should these dams become compromised."

Hundreds of comments and protests were received by the BLM from Texas officials and citizens including those from Congressman Burgess, and the cities of Dallas, Lewisville, Denton, Flower Mound, The Colony, Double Oak,Highland Village and Hickory Creek.  At the time of this release, those protests have still not been posted on the BLM website (see BLM release attached).


Rita Beving