West Texas frac sand proposal abandoned

Faced with public opposition and grim oil field economics, a West Texas businessman has abandoned his proposal for a rail facility to load sand onto trucks across from a residential neighborhood.

The businessman, Lee Pfluger, ended months of increasingly rancorous debate with a dramatic flourish, making his announcement during a highly anticipated civic meeting in San Angelo on Monday.

“The parties involved in the Hill Street sand depot hearing have agreed that such a facility will not be located on the San Angelo property,” city officials announced on a social media account.

Neither Pfluger nor city officials immediately responded to requests for comment. Last month, the Houston Chronicle profiled the proposal, which would have activated dormant railroad tracks alongside land zoned for “light manufacturing,” transferring sand necessary for hydraulic fracturing into trucks bound for the Permian Basin.

Since Pfluger began exploring the legality of a sand facility in August, opponents have distributed fliers, spoken out at public hearings and filed an appeal to contest the city’s favorable interpretation of the zoning laws. The price of oil has fallen from nearly $100 to less than $50, prompting extensive cutbacks by the companies that use sand in their operations.