Mayor Caraway Says He's Got That Whole Gas Drilling Task Force Thing Covered

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A few weeks ago, as you'll no doubt recall, Angela Hunt called for the formation of a gas drilling task force that would consist of no fewer than 10 people, among them experts well versed in the subject of fracking, neighborhood residents impacted by XTO Energy's requests to drill near Hensley Field and Joe Pool Lake and EPA and TCEQ reps. For starters. Wrote Hunt in that memo to her council colleagues -- among then Dave Neumann, who'd promised a task force but never delivered -- "It is critical that we move forward in creating a public taskforce to fully evaluate the environmental, health, and safety impact of gas drilling in our city and to propose changes to the city's gas drilling ordinance."

Moments ago, Chris Heinbaugh, Mayor Dwaine Caraway's not-quite-chief of staff, passed along a two-sentence memo the mayor sent to the council this afternoon, in which Caraway says he's asked City Manager Mary Suhm to "place a discussion about the formation of a gas drilling task force on the Briefing Agenda for April 20, 2011. I have requested that staff's briefing include background on the subject, potential options we might pursue and legal issues related to this topic."

Caraway then told Unfair Park he hasn't spoken with Hunt about her proposal, and insisted her proposal "will not be the main topic of discussion" at next month's meeting.

"We need make sure the citizens' concerns are addressed," he says. "And the fact there's a great interest, and the fact we want to make sure safety is always considered first, is the reason I thought we had better put it on the agenda. But I am not certain there will be a task force. We will discuss the possible formulation of one. That will be a joint decision as to which way we go, but it's my responsibility as mayor to adhere or be open to discussing all sides of an issue."

After Hunt turned in her initial memo on February 24, she found a handful of colleagues to sign on to her proposal: Pauline Medrano, Tennell Atkins, Vonciel Jones Hill and Carolyn Davis. Five signatures, of course, triggers an agenda item. They wanted the item to go on the April 6 agenda, but Heinbaugh says it had to go later because of a 30-day-after-submitting-to-council rule.

Hunt says she's "not married" to her initial demands for a 10-member task force, but she does want a task force: "We do need one, and we have to have one."

"I can tell you we owe it to the citizens of Dallas to address this openly and publicly, and a task force will allow us to do this," she says. "We should really learn from the surrounding communities who have been dealing with the issue longer than Dallas has, and talking with them it's clear a task force that's transparent and that provides a voice for residents is essential in addressing these critical health and safety issues.

"What I tried to do was provide a starting point, a conversation and to lay out a task force that was, I think, well-formed and well-balanced based on what we've heard from other communities. But there's certainly room for improvement. But whatever we do has to engage residents and not be solely made up of council members or government officials. It's critical we make this an open process."

"We're going to discuss gas drilling in general and the next step and where we should go and what safety measures we should take," Caraway adds. "I think it will be an open discussion. Each council member will have the say in the formulation of where we go and what we do. It may not be [Hunt's 10-member] task force. It may be five members. Who knows the formulation. That will be a discussion had by the Dallas City Council, and what we come up with and agree to is what we'll move forward with."

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15 comments
dfwrez
dfwrez

The city pays loads of money for 'visions' and 'plans' for the city...where oh where did we drop the ball on this one? And why is this a city issue - the EPA and TCEQ need to grow a set and mandate some regulations on this. Since when would a neighborhood resident know what was best unless they were in the natural gas industry?

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

TASK FORCE Sounds quite the large deal .

Don't trust the Idea .

Good chance of limiting the scope of what they are tasked to do.

Suspect rubber stamping of the Drilling companies wants and needs .

But lets all meet here......Those who are not fleeing the wall of water when the Joe Pool Dam gives way....... And take the 20/20 look back at how right we were about not drilling and FRACTURING rock around the the base.

My council person is Dave Neuman "..So I doubt he will listen

This is for the NEWBIES to the AREA

There is a EPA SUPERFUND waste site on North of Mountain Creek Lake in the spill way South of Jefferson East of Hensley field They EPA did mostly a Bury in place because of the instability of the Chemicals at the site. Located in the PDF Below.

Something else we might not want to go FRACTURING the rock around.

http://www.epa.gov/region6/6sf...

Julian Fernandez
Julian Fernandez

The fact that the issue of creating a City of Dallas Drilling Task Force is even on the April 20 agenda is amazing. I had assumed that this would be kicked down past the May elections. Thank-you Councilwoman Hunt et.al. for forcing the issue!

Now let's keep their feet to the fire. Write Mayor Caraway and your Councilman demanding an independent, fair and representative Task Force.

In the wake of events in Japan, we're going to be hearing a lot more about "Clean Natural Gas". And it's a lie.

Jay
Jay

Chill y'all. Dwain's got this one. Feel better now?

AlphaBits
AlphaBits

Caraway was forced to put the item on the agenda because Hunt and four of her colleagues requested it. (The mayor has the authority to set the agenda, but five council members trigger a requirement that an item be placed on the agenda.)

If Hunt hadn't had her five signatures, city staff and politicians like Neumann and Caraway would still be pretending this problem doesn't exist.

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

I think that the mayor has taken the initiative to move this forward is a good thing. That the 'staff' is going to be putting together some 'background' causes some concern in itself. I'm just wondering if they will get their counsel from the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council which has a link on the City Hall web site. Angela Hunt's proposal is the only one that has been put forth in public, not counting the machinations that are currently being performed by others on the council. They COULD give her a little respect by including portions of her proposal in the discussion. But respect always seems to be in short supply these days. So April 20th will be a great show for all to see. Reserved seats?

RS1963
RS1963

For Caraway to move forward on something like this WITHOUT EVEN TALKING TO HUNT is just ridiculous, petty, and....ignorant. How hard is it to walk down the hall, sit down with someone who is much more knowledgeable about the subject, and have a simple discussion.

Caraway should either show some true leadership or get out of the way.

Of course, even more shameful is that he is going to be re-elected AGAIN. Embarrassing.

DallasDrilling
DallasDrilling

The most I can say at this point is hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....

Patrick B.
Patrick B.

"We're going to discuss gas drilling in general and the next step and where we should go and what safety measures we should take," Caraway adds. "I think it will be an open discussion. Each council member will have the say in the formulation of where we go and what we do..."

Is it just me, or are others out there imagining Carolyn Davis giving her 2 cents on the current political and geological issues surrounding gas drilling? Please oh please...

Phelps
Phelps

I hear that Arthur and Archie are geologists. That only leaves eight more spots. I hope that Selected Not Elected Caraway can think up eight more names that start with A.

Kerry_okie
Kerry_okie

Note to Angela Hunt: Bus approaching!

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

You must be a Dam fool! Angela Hunt does not have the authority to appoint a Task Force,nor does any other Council member.Mayor Caraway has attended all the meeting on gas drilling and has same information she does.The drilling sites are in Newman's district and he has been addressing them.What Mayor Caraway did is place it on Agenda for discussion of all Council members, we have 14-1 and City Manager form of government.If eight members think a Task force is needed and best thing for City so be it.Dallas presently has a gas drilling ordinance do we know if its good or bad.

Stop hating on Mayor Caraway,must be mad because Mayor Caraway was the only person who took Leppert serious ,when he was first elected.Leppert said he would only be there one term,you people did not hear him ,or like you always do ,skip over real truth. Caraway, is doing fine,he's Mayor of Dallas ,like it or not,and he didn't need your vote. Group of Black folk from Oak Cliff elected Mayor of Dallas.We are laughing all day every day. Get the F---- over it.

Jay Hawk
Jay Hawk

He's just following the example set by Former Mayor Tom. Ignore Councilwoman Hunt and hope that she will go away.

Lucian4
Lucian4

"Group of Black folk from Oak Cliff elected Mayor of Dallas.We are laughing all day every day. Get the F---- over it."

The reality is that you "Black folk from Oak Cliff" did NOT elect a mayor. You elected a clown to represent your district. It was only by virtue of his position of mayor pro tem that he became mayor when our real mayor quit before his term was up, which would have been June if he had the balls to stay and finish what he started.

Caraway, along with Arthur and Archcie, may return to represent you "Black folk from Oak Cliff", but he will never be elected mayor of this city, and his 15 minutes of fame will expire in June following the election in May, so enjoy it while you can because that is as close as you are ever going to get to the real seat of power.

Phelps
Phelps

You're right -- he didn't get our votes. Selected, not elected.

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