AUSTIN — Scores of photographs taken by state emergency-management officials show that when floodwaters rise in Texas, they inundate oil wells and fracking sites, sweeping crude and noxious chemicals into rivers throughout the Lone Star State.
Most recently, rainbow sheens and caramel plumes can be seen radiating from tipped tanks and flooded production pads during the March flood of the Sabine River, which forms much of the state’s boundary with Louisiana. Similar scenes are visible in photos from last year’s floods of the Trinity, Red, and Colorado rivers.
But despite apparent evidence that spills have been routine in recent floods, Texas' regulator, the Railroad Commission of Texas, contends that it has responded effectively.
“I’m confident that once the agency is notified, we’re taking appropriate measures,” Rich Parsons, the commission’s communications director, said last week.