Oil Spills at the Lexington Wildlife Preserve: Negligence to Prevent, Negligence to Report

Report from concerned Oklahoma resident,

Xanadu has not reported this spill to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. This is how Xanadu Exploration Company conducts its business on public lands at the Lexington Wildlife Preserve in Cleveland County, failing to prevent a spill and failing to report a spill. Spill Lexington 2

Xanadu has multiple wells located in the Lexington Wildlife Preserve. This one is called Top Gun #1. Top Gun #1 has two significant leaks. One leak is near the tank battery. Another is near the horse head well pump. This is not a major spill with hundreds of barrels pouring onto the land. There are multiple small leaks contributing to what appears to be a slow, steady accumulation. From the looks of it, this has probably been going on for several months. Maybe longer.

Spill Lexington 1The Oklahoma Corporation Commission does not require companies to report spills of less than 10 barrels unless it is a threat to a water source. The spills are located near two large fishing ponds in the Lexington Wildlife Preserve. The leaks near the well pump do not appear to be contained by any berm. The City of Purcell relies on groundwater wells, many of which are located in the Lexington Wildlife Preserve, not far from this and other wells operated by Xanadu. According to OCC spokesperson Matt Skinner, no OCC field inspectors have been to the site of this spill. I have filed an ORA request on the history of inspections for this well. I have also requested that the OCC conduct a water quality analysis for the nearby fishing ponds and water wells.

The spills appear to be due to negligence on the part of the operator; a failure to maintain their equipment in good working condition. The leaks near the well head have spewed out of the pipes and coated some of the pressure gauges making them unreadable. One of the pressure gauges appears not to be functioning at all. This well site seems to constitute multiple violations of OCC rules. Xanadu has failed to report this spill and should be liable for fines and damages.

Xanadu is the same company whose application for a hydraulic fracturing drilling permit drew protests from Slaughterville residents earlier this week. 
The citizens opposing this permit need to be made aware of Xanadu’s practices. This should serve as a clear example for the Town Board that public health and safety are not a priority for the company. Clearly they are using faulty equipment and have done nothing to contain the leakage. By all appearances, this has been an ongoing problem for several months. Is the company just unwilling to spend the money to make the repairs or purchase better equipment?

Based on their record in the area, I think the town of Slaughterville would be well within their rights to deny Xanadu’s permit application. If this is how Xanadu treats our public lands and conservation areas, I doubt they think very highly of their neighbors in Slaugterville.
If I were on the town board in Slaughterville, I’d be doing everything in my power to run these folks right out of town.”

– Casey Holcomb, Concerned Oklahoma Resident

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