The Battle Over the Skies: Exposing Texas’ Hidden Environmental Crisis

Sarah Stogner's Defiance Against No-Fly Zones to Uncover Texas' Toxic Threats

A Flight for Transparency

In the vast expanses of , a conflict is unfolding not on the ground, but in the air. Sarah Stogner, an energy attorney and licensed drone pilot, is challenging no-fly zones imposed by the state government.

Her mission is clear: to document and expose environmental hazards posed by abandoned oil wells in West Texas. Stogner's actions highlight a growing concern about the state's handling of these so-called “zombie wells” and the broader implications for public health and safety, reports The Houston Chronicle.

The Battle Over The Skies: Exposing Texas' Hidden Environmental Crisis 1
courtesy of Sarah Stegner.

The Hidden Dangers of Abandoned Wells

Stogner's journey began with capturing disturbing drone images in Crane County, where unplugged wells threaten water supplies. Her photographs, shared on social media, reveal alarming water pooling in waste pits – a sign of underlying neglect.

The Texas Railroad Commission, responsible for regulating oil and gas, has responded not with solutions but with restrictions, implementing no-fly zones that hinder public awareness of these dangers.

Stogner's revelations bring to light the Railroad Commission's seeming attempts to shield the public from the reality of these abandoned wells and their environmental impact.

State Actions and Federal Funding: A Paradox

Despite promises from the Railroad Commission to address the issue of orphaned oil wells, progress remains slow. Texas has received federal funds to tackle this problem, ironically voted against by Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn.

This contradiction underscores a broader hypocrisy in the state's approach to environmental management. The backlog of unplugged wells continues to grow, posing explosive risks and contaminating water sources.

The Battle Over The Skies: Exposing Texas' Hidden Environmental Crisis 2
Drone photos courtesy of Sarah Stegner.

Resistance and Legal Battles

Stogner's defiance of no-fly zones is not an isolated act. organizations, too, are fighting these restrictions, but recent rulings by the U.S. Court of Appeals' Fifth Circuit have upheld the bans.

In response, Stogner plans to continue her aerial documentation, asserting her rights as a lawyer and prepared to face consequences.

She argues that the urgency of the environmental threat outweighs the state's desire to limit information.

A Call for Accountability and Action

Sarah Stogner's battle against no-fly zones is more than a personal crusade; it is a call to action for transparency and accountability.

As she continues to gather evidence of the state's environmental neglect, Stogner challenges Texans to recognize and address the toxic legacy of abandoned oil wells.

Her determination to expose these hidden threats serves as a stark reminder of the importance of vigilant citizenship in safeguarding public health and the environment.

Drone photos courtesy of Sarah Stegner.

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ or @hayekesteloo.

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