An out-of-state oil company with a questionable track record ("Terex" or "T-Rex Oil") wants to export its toxic fracking wastewater into Nebraska, moving 80 truckloads carrying 10,000 barrels per day of pollution destined to be dumped into a disposal well in Sioux County — transferring all the risk onto Nebraska farmers and ranchers.

Threatens the Ogallala Aquifer

The well would be by far the largest of its kind in Nebraska — dwarfing any of the other 115 existing injection wells in the state. Wastewater from the fracking process would be pumped down directly through the Ogallala aquifer, posing a perilous danger to the precious underground water source that provides drinking water for millions of people and 30% of irrigation for our agricultural economy.

Not only does the process of "fracking" for oil and gas consume huge volumes of water -- as many as 10 gallons of wastewater created to drill out every gallon of oil -- but after it's used in the drilling process, the water is then contaminated and must be disposed of with similar precaution as radioactive waste. In fact, fracking wastewater is often radioactive itself, due to solids it picks up underground during the drilling process.

What's worse, when it spills, wastewater is particularly damaging to agricultural land, where the effects can last decades or even generations, according to North Dakota State University soil scientist Larry Cihacek. [1] The outline of a New Mexico wastewater spill from the early 1980s is still visible on Google Earth satellite photos. 

Terex, the Colorado-based company applying to drill the well in Nebraska, wants permission to pump 10,000 barrels of toxic wastewater down through the Ogallala aquifer daily.  

Nebraskans depend on clean water from the Ogallala aquifer for life and for our livelihoods. We can't afford to risk our grandchildren's future by allowing the injection of exported pollution into our soil and through our aquifer. 

Lack of wastewater well oversight

In North Dakota, regulators were found to have allowed continued injecting of fracking fluid underground even as mechanical integrity tests -- meant to detect weaknesses in a well's construction -- indicated leaks in parts of some wells' multiple layers of casing. [2] 

In California, officials ordered an emergency shutdown of fracking sites after it was discovered that regulators permitted nearly 3 billion gallons of wastewater from injection wells to contaminate underground aquifers containing drinking water protected under the Safe Drinking Water Act. [3]

In Nebraska, if the well casing were to fail on Terex's proposed injection well, it would be impossible to clean up a toxic wastewater spill inside the Ogallala aquifer. 

Nebraska has almost no standards to regulate disposal of fracking waste, which is the reason out of state corporations want to dump their wastewater in our state.

In fact, the head of the Nebraska Oil and Gas Commission even recently acknowledged in an interview that Nebraska "has a less demanding regulatory structure for disposal wells compared to neighboring states which can make the approval process faster." [4]

The Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission's mission is to promote development and production of oil and gas in our state, not to regulate it.

Further, the Nebraska Legislature should halt the dumping of fracking wastewater in our state until we have adequate standards to protect our land and water — Nebraska's lifeblood, and key to our productive future.

Earthquakes in Nebraska? 

The drilling of wastewater injection wells has also been tied to an alarming rise in the frequency and strength of earthquakes in frack-friendly states like Oklahoma, which had 574 earthquakes with a magnitude of 3.0 or greater in 2014 — more earthquakes than the state of California had last year. [5]  

A new study from the U.S. Geological Survey found that these smaller earthquakes could also be putting fracking zones at risk for major ones. [6]

Local concerns

In addition to the dangers outlined above, local landowners also have expressed serious concerns about the volume of toxic wastewater that will be exported into Nebraska, with 80 tanker truckloads per day that will be passing schools and putting enormous burden on rural county roads they depend on for their livelihoods, to get their produce and livestock to market.

The County Boards of both Scottsbluff County and Sioux County, Nebraska have sent letters voicing their opposition to the proposed fracking well to the Oil & Gas Commission. [7]

Add your name and tell the Commission we don't want fracking wastewater exported into Nebraska.

Optional for Nebraska residents: Leave a comment under your signature, to be delivered as public comment to the Nebraska Oil & Gas Conservation Commission.


1. "State Officials Misrepresent North Dakota's Spill Problem,", 2/16/15 

2. "ND oil and gas division ignores EPA guidelines for wastewater disposal wells,", 2/16/15 

3. "Confirmed: California Aquifers Contaminated With Billions Of Gallons of Fracking Wastewater," DeSmogBlog, 10/7/14

4. "Oil Field Brine Disposal Pits Colorado Business Against Nebraska Landowners," NET Nebraska, 2/4/15

5. "Oklahoma Temblors Outpace California as Fracking Booms," Bloomberg, 8/7/14

6. "Small Earthquakes Linked To Fracking Could Lead To Major Ones,", 2/16/15

7. "Sioux County Board Approves Letter Opposing Wastewater Well,", 2/18/15

9526 total signers.