BLUFF DALE - A just-formed pro-water group - Erath County Citizens for Clean Water - wasted little time in hiring a well-respected Austin law firm to fight efforts to put a commercial oil and gas waste disposal wells in the county.

Bill Gordon, who was elected the group’s first president on Saturday, reported Monday that the Austin firm of Lowerre & Frederick has been hired to represent ECCCW.

The firm’s first battle apparently will be against a request that EOG Resources Inc. has made to the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) to dispose of waste at a site about six miles south of Bluff Dale, not far from Mountain Lakes subdivision.

The proposed site is on FM 205, a road that splinters off of FM 2481, which runs between Bluff Dale and Three Way.

A hearing before the RRC is scheduled for March 1.

“We’re serious about protecting the Trinity Aquifer, which is a major recharge zone for hundreds of Texas communities,” Gordon said.

Lowerre & Frederick is also representing a Wise County group that is waging war against similar efforts to dispose of oil and gas waste in that county.

In addition to electing Gordon ECCCW’s first president during its initial meeting Saturday, the group also elected:

Darrell Speegle and Michael Cape, vice presidents, Bruce Tackett and Lou Knight, co-treasurers, and Georgia Scott, secretary.

Meanwhile, Gordon said ECCCW was able to raise enough money Saturday that he felt “comfortable enough to hire a lawyer.”

“We did pretty good on the spot,” Gordon said.

Now, Gordon said, the group is seeking additional contributions and that he already has volunteers in Stephenville, Huckabay and Bluff Dale lined up to help with the fund-raising effort.

Scott, the group’s newly named treasurer, encouraged area residents to write checks to Erath County Citizens for Clean Water, P.O. Box 166, Bluff Dale, TX 76433.

In addition, Scott encouraged residents to e-mail her at scottagc@lipan.net to be placed on the group’s e-mail list.

“The action group encourages letter writing to the Railroad Commission to stop disposal well dumping in Hico, Bluff Dale, Huckabay and any other areas in Erath County,” Scott said.

Scott said ECCCW’s first goal is “to teach everyone of the possible dangers of the toxic elements used by oil and gas companies to frac their wells.”

“Our second goal is to make legislators, the RRC, and every Texas committee hear the cry of citizens to change laws to keep our water safe and clean,” Scott said.

Scott said a “growing number of local residents” are concerned about the injection/disposal wells “where trucks dump thousands of gallons of contaminated ‘water’ in their own back yards.”

“Residents are mad because they weren’t told the truth about what is added to water when they frac a well,” Scott said. “They were told, “It’s only salt water.’”

“Since the RRC doesn’t pay attention to one citizen, we must organize to speak with a loud voice of may people UNITED,” Scott said in an e-mail. “That’s the American way.”

In the meantime, Scott said, the ECCCW is open to “any Texan.”

“This is a TEXAS problem … and we TEXANS are the only ones to solve it. Let’s do it!” Scott said.

DOUG MYERS is Managing Editor of the Empire-Tribune. He can be reached at doug.myers@empiretribune.com or (254) 965-3124, ext. 229.