Community Tour: Apache works to protect the dark skies of West Texas

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BALMORHEA -- West Texas is known for our dark starry skies so when you talk about bringing drilling the city of Balmorhea it doesn't come without some backlash.

As part of our community tour this week CBS 7 spoke with the Apache Corporation about the measures they're taking to protect the dark skies of West Texas.

You know the song, the stars at night are big and bright and Apache is working to keep it that way. Many traveling from near and far just to look up at the lone stars of Texas. But there is now concern about the skies with Apache making their mark in Balmorhea at Alpine High.

"This rig is a great example of what we're doing to protect the dark skies of West Texas," said Manager of Apache External Engagement, Joe Bretell.

The oil and gas company said they're going above and beyond to make sure these skies remain sacred. There are currently 688 lights in Alpine high that are checked every single week to ensure they are in compliance. To accomplish that goal, Apache is working hand and hand with the McDonald Observatory.

"We experiment with a number of different lights sometimes different bulbs whether it’s a stadium type light or a LED we will experiment and sometimes that cost us more money but that's an expense we're willing to take," explained Bretell

When you take a walk around Alpine High you'll see that all of the lights are pointed downward. It's a strategy to keep the light from spreading. Bretell said it's just another way they're working to be good neighbors.

"Folks in West Texas can continue to count on us to protect the dark skies."