Grimes County neighborhood fed up with flare

IOLA, Tex. (KBTX)- A Grimes County community is making a desperate plea for peace and quiet. The residents on and near Roese Road in Iola claim their serenity has been shattered by ETX Energy, an Oklahoma-based energy company.

Nearly two years ago, the oil well that flares casinghead gas was added to a small piece of land right in the middle of the neighborhood.

It's approximately 600 feet from the nearest home, and homeowners say the well and flare can both be noisy and produce a bad smell.

They also say the flare is bright at night, and they speculate black soot that sometimes covers vehicles and homes comes from the flare.

There's also concern that the well will decrease property values, and safety is another issue.

Last year a worker was burned at an ETX Energy work site in Madison County following an industrial accident. Click here to read our coverage of the fire from 2016.

The residents have been working together to make a plea to the Railroad Commission of Texas. Last week more than a dozen signatures were collected and added to a letter sent to the commission, asking it to put a stop to the flare.

"To be clear, we will continue to do all that is within our power to keep our families safe and healthy," the letter said.

The Railroad Commission, through its Oil and Gas Division, regulates the exploration, production, and transportation of oil and natural gas in Texas, but complaints of dust, noise, and odors fall within local jurisdictions and are governed by local ordinances.

Click here to learn more about complaints investigated by the Texas Railroad Commission.

ETX Energy met early on with the residents, and added a small 2-sided sound barrier around the generator to help eliminate the sound coming from the pump jack, but that and the flare continue to be a problem for residents.

In addition to seeking help from the state, the Iola group says its reaching out to local authorities to find a solution.

This area of Grimes County is part of the Eagle Ford Shale. Click here to read an investigative piece on flares from the San Antonio News-Express.

KBTX did reach out to a spokesperson for ETX Energy last week for additional information and comment. We will update this story when we hear back from them.

More information here about the Eagle Ford Shale.