Texas frack sand firm enlists in state’s conservation plan

By Luke Geiver | August 29, 2017

A growing frack sand provider with Permian Basin operations has taken a major step to secure future operations by entering into a Texas Conservation Plan designed to protect the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard. Black Mountain Sand LLC has been granted a certificate of inclusion into the TCP formed earlier this year by the Texas comptroller. The certificate will ensure Black Mountain will be able to continue operations in the future should the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service classify the DSL as an endangered species.

Black Mountain has agreed to limit its mining plans to areas that were determined in 2012 to be sensitive and important to the DSL. The frack sand company has also agreed to fund research, dedicate acreage to a conservation easement and conduct its mining operations by an agreed upon, environmentally sensitive protocol. Obtaining its certificate to become part of the TCP for the DSL took months of planning, according to Black Mountain.

“We intend to be here for the next 30 years,” said Rhett Bennett, CEO. “We want to be good neighbors and thoughtful contributors to the community and the issues it faces.”

The TCP, formed in February, is a voluntary plan that servces as a safety net for landowners and businesses in West Texas who choose to enroll. The goal of the plan is to help ensure the preservation of the DSL, a species that lives in West Texas and New Mexico.

Susan Combs, comptroller in Texas, helped create the TCP due to inadequate scientific data on the DSL that could be used to list the species as endangered.

Earlier this year, Texas A&M University researchers collected data on the DSL that revealed it was present in 28 previously unknown locations. 

In August, Black Mountain announced a long-term frack sand supply agreement with Diamondback Energy that will begin in 2018.