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September 12, 2018 - As an East Texan residing in Shelby County, I am aware of the situation and am monitoring it closely to ensure the Railroad Commission is doing whatever it can to keep the public safe.

The Railroad Commission (RRC) is a government agency full of scientists who take the issue of induced seismicity very seriously. As result, in 2014 the RRC put in place some of the most stringent rules on disposal wells — the type of wells some link to earthquakes — in the country. Like all issues before the Commission, our scientists take immense pride in ensuring all our decisions to protect the public and environment are based on sound-science.

Because of our enhanced rules, the vast majority of disposal well applications in recent years have been rejected, withdrawn, or had special conditions placed on them. Our rules also allow for us to shut down wells we believe to be causing seismic events.

Texas is quickly becoming a leader in seismicity research. In 2015, the Texas Legislature appropriated funding for an enhanced seismic network managed by the Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) called TexNet. As part of the TexNet program, seismometers have been placed across Texas. Scientists from BEG, the University of Texas, Southern Methodist University, Texas A&M, the RRC, and industry are collaborating to gain a better understanding of seismicity Texas. Fortunately, the TexNet program and the RRC's rules are working. In fact, last October the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report which "highly commends the RRC for its actions to address" seismicity in Texas, "including implementation of changes in permitting and operation requirements."

This is not the first time the RRC has been applauded by the EPA on how Texas handles issues of seismicity. Even Obama Administration stated in an EPA report that the "RRC is also commended for establishing new regulations specific to seismicity, including solidifying RRC authority to take appropriate action related to injection well operations."

Prior to 2014 and my time on the Railroad Commission, disposal wells were regulated inadequately. In fact, as a state representative, I worked with the Railroad Commission and even drafted legislation to reign in bad actors (mostly out of Louisiana) who were haphazardly dumping their wastewater in East Texas.

Our staff is currently evaluating the inventory of wells near Timpson, reviewing the well status, injection volumes and pressures, reviewing geology and faulting, and to determine what, if any, action needs to be taken by the agency.

September 12, 2018 - The Shelby County Commissioners' lifted the burn ban during their Wednesday, September 12, 2018 meeting.

September 12, 2018 - The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has recorded another earthquake in the Timpson area.

According to the USGS a 2.5 magnitude earthquake occurred at a depth of 5.0 km at 11:30pm, September 11 lasting for 5.7 seconds.

This is the second recorded earthquake in the Timpson area for the month of September as the first, a 3.2 magnitude, was recorded on September 4, 2018.

Related articles:
Timpson Reported Site of New 3.2 Earthquake

Timpson Citizens Share Earthquake Woes with Railroad Commission Representatives

Shelby County Residents Voice Concerns Over Earthquakes on Horizon

Letter from Commissioner Christian Regarding the Earthquakes in Timpson

September 11, 2018 - Emergency personnel were first alerted by a Center Volunteer fireman of the incident at the intersection of CR 4356 at 5:45pm on Tuesday, September 11, 2018.

Units from the Shelby County Sheriff's Department and Center Police Department arrived with the Center Fire Department to assist at the scene, while Center firemen used Jaws of Life to extricate occupants from the passenger car involved and move them to waiting ambulances.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, a blue 2007 Peterbilt truck-tractor semi-trailer hauling a load of shavings was driven by Derek Lampkin, 51, of Lufkin and was northbound on US 96. 

At that time a silver 2003 Pontiac passenger car driven by Magdiel Cruz, 38, of Tenaha was stopped in the inside lane preparing to make a left turn on to CR 4356 when Lampkin failed to control speed and struck the Pontiac from the rear. 

The truck-tractor overturned on the highway and came to rest on its left and across the entire highway. The Pontiac traveled off the roadway to the left and into the southbound shoulder where it came to rest. 

Cruz was not reported to have been injured from the crash. A 14-year-old male child was transported by ambulance to Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital for treatment of serious injuries.

Natibida Ramirez, 41, a passenger in the Pontiac succumbed to her injuries and was pronounces deceases at the scene by Jackie Kirkwood, Shelby County Justice of the Peace Precinct 4. Ramirez was transported from the scene by Watson & Sons Funeral Home.

The crash is being investigated by Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Keith Jones who was assisted by Trooper Daniel Dellenger and Trooper Koonce.

At this time, no additional information is available and the crash remains under investigation. 

Later, TxDOT arrived at the scene as well as Shelby County Constables Jake Metcalf and Roy Cheatwood.


September 10, 2018 - Effective Immediately, the Order Restricting Outdoor Burn (Burn Ban) has been lifted for the unincorporated portions of Nacogdoches County.

August 29, 2018 - Effective immediately, Nacogdoches County is under a burn ban. The commissioner's court placed this into effect this morning at the commissioner's court meeting. Due to the lack of rain and dry conditions in our county we ask that all our citizens please comply with this order. This order will remain in effect until conditions change for our county and the order is rescinded by the County Judge.

This order does not prohibit outdoor burning activities related to public health and safety that are authorized by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for (1) Firefighter training; (2) public utility, natural gas pipeline or mining operations; or (3) planting or Harvesting of agricultural crops; or, (4) burns that are conducted by a prescribed burn manager certified under Natural Resources Code 3.048 and meet the standards of Natural Resources Code 3.04.

In accordance with Local Government Code  2.081(h), a violation of this Order is a Class C misdemeanor.

Effective September 7, 2018 the water on Denning Rural WSC no longer requires boiling.

September 5, 2018 - Due to a break in the line, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has required the Denning Rural Water System PWS #2030004 to notify customers FM 1196 as well as West of FM 354 to boil their water prior to consumption (eg., washing hands/face, brushing teeth, drinking, etc.). Children, seniors and persons with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to harmful bacteria, and all customers should follow these directions.

To ensure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, water for drinking, cooking and ice making should be boiled and cooled prior to use for drinking water or human consumption purposes. The water should be brought to a vigorous rolling boil and then boiled for two minutes.

In lieu of boiling, individuals may purchase bottled water or obtain water from some other suitable source for drinking water or human consumption purposes.

When it is no longer necessary to boil the water, the public water system officials will notify customers that the water is safe for drinking water or human consumption purposes.

Once the boil water notice is no longer in effect, the public water system will issue a notice to customers that rescinds the boil water notice in a manner similar to this notice.

Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received the notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.

If you have questions concerning this matter, you may contact Denning Rural Water System at 220 W. Columbia Street, San Augustine, Texas, 75972 or call 936-288-0489 or Charles Sharp at 936-201-5001.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) can also be reached at 512-239-4691.

September 8, 2018 - U.S. 59 south of Tenaha was the scene of a major crash involving two 18-wheelers early Saturday, September 8, 2018, 1:30am  which resulted in one driver's death. The truck-tractors collided head-on and came to rest in the middle of the highway just inside the Tenaha city limit. One of the trucks ignited in flames following the collision.

Emergency personnel from Tenaha Volunteer Fire Department, and Woods Volunteer Fire Department were dispatched to the scene and the assistance of Timpson Volunteer Fire Department was requested for the use of their Jaws of Life.

According to a press release issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety, a 2017 Peterbilt truck-tractor semi-trailer driven by David Forehand, 57, from El Lago, TX. was traveling south on US 59. The Peterbilt reportedly swerved to the left to avoid a tree that had fallen into the roadway and drove into the northbound lanes and struck a 2002 Sterling truck-tractor semi-trailer head-on that was driven by Joseph Cargal, 68, from Conroe, TX. The Sterling truck-tractor semi-trailer then caught fire.

Cargal was pronounced deceased at the scene by Jackie Kirkwood, Shelby County Justice of the Peace for Precinct 4.

Forehand was transported to a Nacogdoches hospital and later transported to a Tyler hospital for treatment.

Texas Department of Public Safety State Troopers are currenlty investigating the crash. Shelby County Sheriff's Deputies were on scene to assist in redirecting traffic from the roadway in conjunction with firemen and TxDOT.

Investigators and first responders continue to work to clear the scene. Motorists are urged to use caution in this area.

September 8, 2018 - US 59 Closure: Clean up could continue until mid-day on US 59 just south of Tenaha after an early morning crash. All lanes remain closed. Detours are in place. Expect some delays.

September 5, 2018 - Following long involved discussions over the receipt of a donated Crown Victoria to the Precinct 3 Constable office, the Shelby County Commissioners approved the donation. 

According to Roy Cheatwood, Constable Precinct 3, Kyle Allen - owner of Joaquin Quick Stop, offered help to Cheatwood and his office. In response, Cheatwood stated he would like to have a car donated to the office for use in the school zone to slow traffic in the morning.

Allen presented Cheatwood with the vehicle which had been in Timpson.

A motion carried to accept the vehicle, approve $450 for work already done to the vehicle, $400 liability insurance yearly for the vehicle and for an interlocal agreement with City of Joaquin to furnish the fuel.

All commissioners voted for the acceptance with the exception of the abstention of Bradley Allen, Commissioner Precinct 4, whose son made the donation.

The commissioners considered the possibility of a reserve deputy to work with Constable Cheatwood; however, the item was tabled. The motion to table required getting any liability insurance issues worked out and what it would cost to change the county insurance policy to cover reserve officers.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:21am.

Agenda items approved during the meeting include:

1. Pay weekly expenses.
2. Pay current payroll.
3. Take action on current burn ban.
4. Donation of a 2008 Crown Vic to Constable Pct 3 from Kyle Allen.
5. Accept the vehicle, approve $450 for work already done to the vehicle, $400 liability insurance yearly for the vehicle and for an interlocal agreement with City of Joaquin to furnish the fuel.
6. Discuss and possibly approve a deputy constable position for Constable Precinct 3.
7. Adjourn. 

Agenda items tabled during the meeting:
1. Deputy constable position for Constable Precinct 3. Work out any liability insurance issues and find out what it would cost to change the county insurance policy to cover reserve officers.

September 12, 2018 - The Commissioners’ Court removed the burn ban during their September 12th meeting.

September 5, 2018 - During the Shelby County Commissioners Court, the Court voted to keep the Burn Ban another week. Additional Commissioners Court details coming soon.