The state attorney general's office is weighing in on emerging water issues as concerns grow for those living near the Haynesville Shale.
A memo Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and Department of Natural Resources Secretary Scott Angelle released in February addressing surface water rights has been followed recently by opinions from the attorney general's office that provide more clarity about which government entity controls withdrawals and sales. The directives add another level of approval needed for oil and gas operators hunting for water to supply hydraulic fracturing of natural gas wells. In most cases, the Red River Waterway Commission will be the go-to agency; however, the attorney general's office and DNR also will review and give the final OK before water is taken from area streams, bayous or lakes.
At the crux of the issue is the state's opinion that all running water is a thing of value and belongs to people of the state. As such, the water cannot be sold without authorization.