In Texas, Private Landowners Hold Their Ground
Texas is no stranger to the oil business. But with the new boom, private landowners are forcing oil and gas companies to clean up their act.
Until then, advances will be left largely to the landowners. Fortunately, Temple is in good company. "A majority of the ranches are owned for cattle, wildlife, hunting, or recreation," says Smith. "The owners are sensitive to the impact of industry." In addition to forcing companies to restore land, some are asking them to take their efforts a step further, like installing washtubs and requiring truck drivers and heavy equipment operators to rinse their tires to keep out exotic plants. Another way landowners are limiting industry impact, meanwhile, is to require gas and oil workers to paint wellheads so they blend in with the surrounding landscape. It's a step in the right direction, if a small one. In the face of Texas's new energy boom, it is going take more than a paint job to preserve what's left of the natural state.