Southwest OKC residents meet ahead of corporation commission hearing on planned oil and gas well

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OKLAHOMA CITY - The 25 people who packed into the decorated living room of Sheila and Fred Nayfa's far southwest side home didn't come together for a holiday party, but were meeting under far different circumstances.

"Whether you go with legal action, or not, I absolutely recommend that we do that," said Eric Sanderson, a homeowner. "That doesn't cost really anything but time, but we might be able to get some traction there."

Sanderson and others are hoping to gain traction with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission when it comes to halting Oklahoma City-based gas and oil exploration company Roan Resources' plan to drill an oil and gas well near the intersection of S.W. 29th and Czech Hall Road.

The meeting Thursday evening in the Nayfa's home is the culmination of a quickly cobbled together group of concerned residents from a number of neighborhoods surrounding the planned well site. Some friends -- others complete strangers -- but all seem to have a common concern regarding the planned horizontal well that could soon cut under or near their properties.

"They're going to contaminate our wells. That's what we feed our kids, do our dishes, wash our hair," said Maya DeBruyne. "That will poison our showers. We can't be breathing methane."

News 4 emailed and called Roan Resources several times and stopped by its Oklahoma City office Thursday. However, we were told the people we needed to talk to were out of the office.

Those present said the push back against the well isn't a matter of being against the oil and gas industry, as its importance in the state is clear and some even have careers in the industry. However, what's also clear is the importance of protecting their families' health, children's safety, water wells and property values.

Ahead of a planned Oklahoma Corporation Commission meeting next Tuesday at 9 a.m., the group took an informal poll of who would be willing to chip in to help fund a challenge to the plan, if it were to incur court costs and attorneys fees, which could balloon if challenged all the way to the state's Supreme Court. Most, if not all agreed, to pool money.

"It's a challenge, that has been successful, essentially to keep it from encroaching on city limits, which is what I think we're fighting here," said Sanderson, who backed challenging the well plans. "But it's Oklahoma. But there's no guarantee, and it could go all the way up there (to the Oklahoma Supreme Court), and lose."

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