The oil and gas company with the joke name (Exxon spelled backwards) is no joking matter. After flooding from Hurricane Harvey, Noxxe left a mile-long trail of devastation in Forest Cove for taxpayers to clean up. The company’s toxic legacy includes dozens of abandoned wells, toppled tanks, and twisted, rusting, ruptured pipes – all in the floodway of the San Jacinto River West Fork, which supplies drinking water to two million people.
Meeting with Texas Railroad Commission
After a series of posts on this subject, I received a call from the Texas Railroad Commission (TRRC). TRRC took control of Noxxe’s operation after the company went bankrupt in February.
The Commission’s District Cleanup Coordinator invited me to tour the site with him and discuss the status of cleanup. There’s good news and bad.
- Tanks have been drained of toxic chemicals.
- Some wells have been plugged.
- TRCC believes the oil spilled on the ground will degrade naturally.
- A small check dam should keep oil-contaminated rainwater from washing into the river (except in floods).
- Many of the wells have NOT been plugged.
- Oil has spilled on the ground.
- Rusting, oil-covered equipment litters the property.
- Legally, the state has no recourse against the company’s management or the property owners.
- The State Comptroller’s Office has taken over bidding for cleanup jobs like this, but reportedly has no specialists in toxic waste cleanup.
- The Comptroller’s Office has reportedly established an “approved vendor list” for these jobs, but the list doesn’t have enough vendors to handle all the work needed in the State.
- TRRC has no budget to handle the Noxxe job and may not get it.
- Thieves steal equipment with salvage value.
- Brine (saltwater produced with oil and gas) has contaminated many parts of the site, killing vegetation.
These photos represent only a small portion of the site. But I’m sure you get the picture.
Texas and Texans make their living from minerals. But left like this, those minerals may be the death of us, too. Noxxe has given a black eye to the entire oil and gas industry, which has thousands of reputable companies and millions of hard-working people in Texas.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 9/26/2020
1125 Days after Hurricane Harvey
The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.