Residents upset as city of Newcastle struggles to keep up with new drilling

NEWCASTLE, Okla. - Lisa Moses is devastated by the drilling site going in just 300 feet away from her home in Newcastle she thought she’d live in forever.

“Not only are in fear for our lives, it’s destroyed our property and our property value,” said Moses.  “300 feet from an existing dwelling brings pollution.  It brings health hazards, noise, can cause psychological, physiological damage.”

Gerald Smith is in the same boat with one going in right next to his Newcastle house.

Both feel like the city has failed them.

“The oil companies come in just like bullies and they bully us around,” said Smith.

“We’re very upset.  We feel like they haven’t done their due diligence to protect their citizens,” said Moses.  “For Newcastle to not even look at this for over 30 years, it’s unbelievable.”

Newcastle city councilman, Mike Fullerton, says their ordinance concerning drilling had not been updated since 1986.

When all the recent drilling started coming, they rushed to catch up, moving the setback from 300 feet to 660 feet.

But it’s too late for the wells already being drilled.

“We started working on it back when we started hearing about the oil wells starting to move this direction and it’s getting all processed, just like state government, takes a little bit of process of time,” said Fullerton.

Bobby Cleveland is the state representative for the area.

He’s holding an interim study next week at the capitol to bring all the parties together to see what can be done.

“We don’t want to do anything to keep them from working but we also have to be respectful to these homeowners,” said Cleveland.

They’re trying to strike a balance between progress and peace.