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Statement from The Nature Conservancy

Texas City Prairie Preserve

Arlington, VA | August 04, 2014

On August 4, The New York Times published an article about The Nature Conservancy's Texas City Prairie Preserve.

The decision to initiate oil/gas leasing at the Texas City Prairie Preserve was made in 1999, over 15 years ago. We would not make the same decision today.

The protection of the Attwater’s prairie chicken has been and remains our top priority. We have worked for many years closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Texas City and in other places to protect this highly endangered species. This is a responsibility we take very seriously.

Since 2003, the Conservancy has had an explicit organizational policy that prohibits the initiation of new oil, gas or hard rock mining activity unless required by existing contracts or other legal requirements.

In 2007, the company that operates under the 1999 oil and gas lease sought to drill a new well to replace the original well which had suffered a mechanical failure. After seeking and receiving a formal legal opinion from an outside attorney with expertise in Texas oil and gas law, and after consulting a petroleum engineer to confirm that the original well had failed, the Conservancy determined that under the terms of the lease, the lessee was entitled to drill a replacement well. That well was drilled from the same pad as the original well.

This was not a decision we made lightly. The Conservancy does not want to be in the oil or gas business.

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at

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