Franklin Residents: Gas Boom Good & Bad

By: Ashlea Sigman Email
By: Ashlea Sigman Email

Downtown Franklin looks like many other small Texas towns. However, miles below the surface all over Robertson County, is a gold mine of sorts: natural gas.

"Its been a big boom for us, its helped our tax base," said Mike Brewer, with the Franklin Chamber of Commerce.

In 2000, there were just 93 gas wells in Robertson County. Eight years later, there are around 630.

To see an interactive map of gas wells across the state click here

"The first well that was drilled was half a mile from here, straight across, which wasn't much of a problem," said James Sanders.

Sanders lives off Poor Farm Road, in Franklin. The family's two acres are surrounded by wells, on other property.

"Now they've added a fourth well," said Sanders.

This summer, the family was forced to move to a hotel, because of the high pressure in a well just 1,500 feet from their home.

"They didn't want us spending the night here and actually they had guards at the end of the road," said Sanders.

The Sanders have an incapacitated daughter, who has to be moved by stretcher. "If something does happen, you know we can't just throw Heather in a vehicle and take off," said Sanders.

The Sanders do draw royalties from some of the nearby wells, but they say the stint in the hotel has them questioning if the boom is worth it.

"Its good in one way and yet theres always that danger that you can't put out of your mind," said Sanders.

Down the street is the town's new high school. Franklin recently approved $42 million worth of school improvements. Its Something chamber of commerce members say couldn't be done without the boom.

"The negatives aren't anywhere close to the plusses," said Brewer. "The plusses have outweighed the negatives by a long shot."

It's the same pot of gold, but different views at the end of the rainbow.

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