Texas Aquifer Exploitation Opposed


A West Texas land baron and oilman is on the verge of pumping 5.4 million gallons of water a day from far under the desert mountains here and piping it 60 miles to the nation's most bountiful oil field, the Permian Basin, where hydraulic fracturing has fueled a renaissance of U.S. oil and gas production. Dan Allen Hughes Jr. plans to tap an aquifer under his 140,000-acre Apache Ranch. But Hughes has run into a wall of opposition from West Texas farmers, ranchers, residents and environmentalists, who worry he will steal water from their cattle, dry up their crops and deplete the spring that feeds the famous pool at Balmorhea State Park.