State Rep.: Barnett Shale Legislation Won't Take All the Pipelines Out of Neighborhoods
|Flickr photo: MyEyeSees|
Still, Young calls Senate Bill 686 a step in the right direction. "It will keep people safe ... safer," he corrected himself in a phone interview Wednesday with Unfair Park. In effect, the bill casts private gas companies in a civic light, designating them as "common carriers," the legal term
But it raises a bigger question: Does a private gas company truly represent the public good?
According to the Texas Senate, yes. This Tuesday, senators voted unanimously to approve S.B. 686. (The Senate also passed another of Davis' Barnett Shale bills, S.B. 752, aimed at regulating disposal of contaminated wastewater from drilling operations.) According to state Rep. Rob Orr (R-Burleson), who authored the bill's companion version, it should go to the House floor within a week or two.
"I'll be the first one [to admit] this is not a cure-all," Orr tells Unfair Park. "There are going to be pipelines in neighborhoods; you can't put every pipeline out in the right-of-way. So it's really a way of just being more efficient, trying to use again the right-of-ways that we already have."
State Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth), who authored S.B. 686, says the bill arose out of "some pretty heated battles" between Fort Worth residents and gas companies.
"Pipeline companies really didn't have the right of way alternatives for pipeline placement that they needed to have," Davis explains. "As a consequence, they looked for private placements. As you can imagine, when you're seeking the ability to place a pipeline under someone's front yard, there can be a great deal of concern by the homeowner or business owner," she said.
Davis hopes the added option of highways and rights-of-way will take pressure off both residents and oil and gas producers. Both of Davis' bills are pending passage in the Texas House of Representatives.