By Molly Payne
(Cushing, Okla) — A Cushing family is raising concerns about pollutants and safety due to a crude blending facility going into their rural neighborhood in Lincoln County, just one mile from the border of Payne County.
When the Deaton family purchased their home in 2005, it was surrounded by farmland. Today, they find themselves living just feet away from a 4.5 million barrel facility that is also a blending facility owned by Keyera Energy. And although the company placed a legal notice of intent in the Cushing Citizen, a Payne County newspaper, no notice was made in a newspaper in the county of the project as required.
In a letter sent to Senator Jim Inhofe, Senator James Lankford, and Oklahoma State Representative Kevin Wallace, Lisa Deaton wrote:
“Please help! A bill needs to be passed that protects homeowners from oil and gas corporations from being able to move within 1/2 a mile due to health and safety concerns. There should be a way to protect American citizens in Oklahoma.”
She goes on to express their concern, not only of the vapors of the crude oil, but also the 6 high-pressure bullet-looking butane tanks.
“We have made numerous complaints about light and noise pollution,” she continues in the letter. “We take our lives into our own hands every time we travel into town through their construction site which is a county road. It is the only paved road into town. The oil companies keep closing in on us.”
Not only has Keyera Energy become their neighbor, but TC Energy (formally known as TransCanada) is located a quarter of a mile from the Deaton home and the facility is their front door view. That facility is considered a “Major Source,” requiring a Title V permit.
“We would have no safe access into town if something catastrophic were to happen,” Deaton continued. “We would be literally, ‘sitting ducks."”
Aside from the above concerns, the Deatons have had signal interference and their way of life has significantly been impacted, as well as their property value.
Deaton concluded her letter by asking, “What can be done to protect the health and safety of our family and neighbors?”
Legislators have responded to the Deatons, but have given no solution to their problem since there are no laws currently in place to protect Oklahoma citizens against such issues.
And while the Deatons, like most Oklahomans, have nothing against the oil and gas industry as a whole, they are campaigning for a new bill to protect people in similar situations.
In the meantime, they have posted a warning sign on their property of the hazardous substances that may be present when the wind blows.