"Regionalism" Just Means Dallas is Going to Get Drilled When It Comes to Fracking

Categories: Get Off My Lawn

SHZ_GetOffMyLawn_TitleImageV2.jpg
So-called regionalism is a rip-off, a scam and a hoax designed to neuter cities and sell them down the river to the damned suburbs.

A few weeks from now the Dallas City Council will take up the issue of fracking, the kind of natural gas drilling in which drillers pump millions of gallons of water spiked with toxic chemicals into the ground to bust up rock formations and release trapped gas. Five council members have asked the full council to consider setting up a task force to find out about water, air and safety issues before Dallas starts letting energy companies drill inside the city limits.

There are two tracks going on this issue. One is the initiative started by East Dallas council member Angela Hunt to establish a city-only task force. The second is being pushed by North Dallas council member Linda Koop to turn the issue over to the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

The North Central What?

Yeah, my point exactly. NCTCOG is a federally mandated regional planning body. The line that we hear all the time now on issues like this one -- but also on transportation, water, air, everything big -- is that all of these things should be dealt with regionally by NCTCOG.
There is a peculiar kind of nonsense-logic used to support the idea. Transportation, after all, should be a regional issue because people transport themselves all over the region. Air floats around willy-nilly. Water is very regional, especially when it rains.

But think about this part. What do they mean when they say "deal with it regionally?" Deal with it how regionally?

They mean the city should give up control of the issue to the region. But to whom in the region? What people?

naturalgas.jpg
Koop wants to turn the gas drilling thing over to NCTCOG. The governing board of NTCOG consists of the Tarrant County judge, the Dallas County judge, the Hunt County judge, the Wise County judge, one Dallas City Council member (Koop), a Grand Prairie city council member, a Denton County commissioner, a Cedar Hill city council member, a Fort Worth city council member, the mayor of Allen, the mayor of Grapevine, the mayor of Roanoke and the former mayor of Desoto.

The former mayor of DeSoto? Why not the former weather man on Channel 4?

I listened to a great lecture over the weekend by F. Scott McCown, executive director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities in Austin, about the state budget crisis. McCown painted the ongoing budget battle in the Legislature not as a contest between liberals and conservatives or Democrats and Republicans but as a fight between, on the one side cities and rural areas and on the other the suburbs.

Not time enough here to explain all of that, but suffice it to say the interests of the cities and the interests of the suburbs are not the same. Not one. Not shared. Often our interests are diametrically opposed.

What I have seen on major transportation and infrastructure issues is that the banner of regionalism is waved most fervently when somebody wants to cut the money-poor but vote-rich cities' legs from under them and slip some cards from the bottom of the deck to the 'burbs or some development interest.

If this issue went to NCTCOG, it would most likely be steered to NCTCOG's Water Resources Council. There has been controversy in the past about NCTCOG knocking citizen advocates off that body. I noticed when I went to the group's website last night that the WRC's member roster was grayed out, so you couldn't click on it and see a list. I found a recent list elsewhere in the Land of Google and did a rough count.

Of 27 members, 18 looked like municipal employees, five were on the staffs of the major water merchants, two looked like they were from developer MUDS -- those municipal utility districts that developers set up as private governments -- and the other two members had affiliations of which I could not make sense.

So does that sound like the gang you want to have control over fracking in your neighborhood in Dallas? Why? What's wrong with the Dallas City Council? At least when they sell us out to the gas drillers, we can vote those bastards out of office. I don't think we can do much about the former mayor of DeSoto.

Our city council got us into this gas drilling mess by selling leases to oil companies for wells on city-owned property and then taking 30 million bucks in payments from them. So our city council is the one that needs to get us out of the mess by devising sane safety rules.
Tell you what. Whenever you hear that word, regional, look for the blade coming from behind you.


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
55 comments
worried
worried

I am very worried about fracking. I own shares in a company that profits from fracking. You wouldn't believe all the tax loopholes my shares get, as the company makes money but somehow shows a loss for taxes. The federal air and tax regulations are obviously made to benefit natural gas fracking. Therefore, our only protection is the city of Dallas. If Dallas pollutes our water supply for a mere $30 million, we're in deep trouble.Have you seen the documentary Gasland? In it is a map of water ways and it is remarkable how interconnected they are, like the human circulatory system.

Lee Rognlie
Lee Rognlie

Exactly what power does NCTCOG yield? Feel free to direct me to something of substance.

Pecos_Drifter
Pecos_Drifter

You don't need the NCTCOG Dallas, you more than capable of fucking it up on your own without the help........then you can blame it on Fort Worth or the suburbs.......

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

I like to see how the City of Dallas has a link on the city hall web site for the gas industry.See there at the bottom? That's the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council web link.Run by Ed Ireland who has been 'counseling' city hall for a while now about the safety of gas drilling. Let's ask Mary Suhm how this web site got on the CITY OF DALLAS WEB SITE.Here it is:www.dallascityhall.com/deve...

I think there is a word for this type of thing.... pupils?

abuckley1970
abuckley1970

"Transportation, after all, should be a regional issue because people transport themselves all over the region. Air floats around willy-nilly. Water is very regional, especially when it rains."

Love it!!!! (especially the air comment)

Agreed, we need to clean up our own mess and let COG use us as a 'what to do if you frack up' example for other cities. :D

James Miller
James Miller

Again, I don't care about the City of Dallas' money problems. That's why I moved out of Dallas proper. I got tired of dealing with clowns like Dwaine Caraway. And I do care deeply about air quality and drinking water. I just don't care about the City of Dallas' inability to budget and make sound decisions.

Julian Fernandez
Julian Fernandez

One should give credit where it is due to Dallas City Councilwoman Linda Koop for this fresh and innovative way to circumvent the growing concern of the citizens of Dallas and hand off this issue to a board of regional officials with no real accountability. What a simple and effective way to rubber-stamp industry demands without all that nasty answering to the electorate.

Thelisma Partridge
Thelisma Partridge

I agree the impact of drilling and fracking is a regional issue - HOWEVER - the study proposed by Angela Hunt (and ignored by Dave Neumann) was in response to the drilling contracts signed by the city for drilling and fracking in the city.

If you truly want to "elevate" this to a regional level then the regional study should consider the impact of ALL the regional drilling in the region of North Texas, not just the proposed drilling within the city limits of Dallas.

ParleyPPratt
ParleyPPratt

Still mad that it wasn't the "Dallas Super Bowl"?

Buckeye
Buckeye

Does de-regionalization inculde dismantlng DART. If so, I'm all in favor.

Stopfrackingin NovaScotia
Stopfrackingin NovaScotia

Nova Scotia is being supported by Karoo, South Africa, New South Wales, Australia and North Island New Zealand - we are al threated with fracking. None of the arguments the oil companies put out stand up. They say 15 jobs per 300 wells, they say fracking since 1947 - not really, this horizontal drilling only recently, and Regs just get broken and all to send gas to China! We have just set up a resource website stopfrackinginnovascotia.ca

TimCov
TimCov

I live in a Suburb (Garland) and I think that Dallas should be making this decision for Dallas. Just as every other municipality should be making a decision on whether to allow drilling in their borders should be made by the municipality.

Only when a decision has a direct effect on the entire region should a decision be made by a regional governing body. But, the regional governing body needs to be elected, not appointed. We already have a regional governing body, the State of Texas. Do we really need another governing body?

RandyE
RandyE

Believe me, in our southwestern burb, when we look north we want as little dealing with the 800 pound turd in the punch bowl as you do with us. Take DART- Irving ponied up over $40.00million and Dallas spent most of a decade trying to screw them out of what had promised. $73something million from Plano to carry what, 2% of their population? Given the feudalism of Dallas politics and the self interest of its ownership, we'll pass on that kind of leadership.

"Whenever you hear that word, regional, look for the blade coming from behind you." Damn right, but it cuts both ways.

Kim Triolo Feil
Kim Triolo Feil

I've been to those monthly NCTCOG air quality steering committee meetings and they are a joke. With the exception of a few environmentaly concerned folks on that committee, everyone else's head in buried in the sand. Years ago they submitted a state implimentation plan to show how they were going to be compliant to federal ozone standards. We missed the mark because we either understated what urban drilling emissions would bring in, or failed to turn in that data at all. TCEQ is/was in phase 2 of processing inventory results from equipment at drillsites to make some forecasts, but either way you shake it, it's kinda late cause we are now in serious non-attainment. To make matters worse we are going to have an even stiffer ozone standard (yet to be announced). Logic would tell you NCTCOG should have asked the local city governments to hold moratoriums until they get a grip on what it takes to bring us into attainment, but they never asked for a regional moratorium. This whole drill baby drill needs to be seen for the real demon that it is as "drill baby drill as fast as you can". Isn't it easier to ask for an apology than to ask for permission to be in nonattainment? After all big bucks ride on drilling out the towns. Taking it slow gives the EPA time to make trouble for those polluters and they (drillers/bought out local gov officials) can't have that. Time is NOT on their side...the damage is done and the fallout is on the way....already here if you start looking at the those dying of the BTEX related leukemias and how close these people lived or worked near drill sites or compressor stations. Trusting the the local & state governments to protect us is the wrong thing to do, waiting on the EPA isn't too smart either...too much time as has passed....the time is now for civil disobedience or at least citizen involvement by storming every city council meeting and demanding a moratorium until 1) the right focus groups with qualified people are in place, 2) city gas drilling ordinances that are "protective to the public and not to the drillers bottom line" are in place, & 3) state and federal laws catch up with the pace of drilling now that we are being made to co-exist with toxic, industrial gas factories in our residential neighborhoods. How did we ever get to allowing our zoning laws to be so violated? oh yea greed...& we trusted those lying landmen. THE ONLY WAY TO SLOW THIS DOWN IS TO NOT ELECT ANY PRODRILLING PUBLIC OFFICE PERSON.

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

Beginning yesterday and everyday this week, The Denton Record Chronicle is doing a series of astounding articles regarding gas drilling in our area. Remember, the DRC is owned by Belo who also owns The Dallas News. It's just my opinion but I really think the Dallas reader would be better served if DMN had published this simultaneously. They don't seem to think so.Here it is:http://www.dentonrc.com/Prepare to soil yourself if you can imagine this happening in Dallas, and it could.

JimS
JimS

The problems associated with gas drilling occur regionally. But that does not mean that the solutions should all be regional. Clearly Fort Worth and its suburbs were fine with allowing fracking all over the place. Now they're screwed. So do we want Fort Worth and its suburbs deciding what should happen in our neighborhoods? This is about taking responsibility for our own destinies.By the way, city dwellers: take careful nore of the screw-the-city tone of the suburban commenters here. Then tell me again why we want to cede control of our own domain to them.

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

JimThanks once again for calling out those who want to 'game' the system here in Dallas from elections to now our air and water. Hopefully more and more people will start to take some time to read about this issue and then call or email their city council person. We will be at the Oak Cliff Earth Day event and the Dallas Earth Day Event in the Arts District side by side with the gas industry. One person and only one person has stated that this whole issue was rigged from the get go back in 2008 and no one listened then and now they try to pretend she's not there. That would be Angela Hunt. People can say what they want about her politics but she had nothing to gain from raising the red flag then or now. Game riggers like Dave Neumann sit on the side lines hoping the issue will disappear so he doesn't either get his hands dirty or cut off the cash flow from the industry. Linda Koop needs to jump on Angela's train before it leaves the station.

Enrique De La Fuente
Enrique De La Fuente

The suburbs need Dallas. Just as the developed World needs the developing world. The suburbs do not want strip clubs, warehouses, certain demographics in there area, but they still need them. So Dallas has become something between a Chinese industrial district meets early 20th Century Manhattan-slum meets Donkey Island.

jmccw
jmccw

Anyone who cares about this should read the excellent cover story in last week's FWWeekly:http://goo.gl/tacc6

James Miller
James Miller

People vote with their feet Jim. The City of Dallas has plenty of income. They just don't use it wisely. As a suburb dweller, I'm not concerned with that problem, ok? That's your problem as a Dallas dweller.

Coleman
Coleman

So what does that have to do with the issue at hand, which is more of a safety and environmental problem?

El Rey
El Rey

But you care enough to read and comment on the DALLAS Observer blog. I'm glad you have your priorities straight...

Anonymous
Anonymous

I wouldn't go quite that far because I don't think Dallas should cede even the illusion of control to a regional group. If they want to form a regional group to serve as a resource for local governments, I'm fine with that. But I think each city, as on most other issues, needs to stand on its own and make its own decisions.

Anonymous
Anonymous

you don't read Unfair Park much, do you?

cp
cp

Hmm, interesting. One could consider Dallas County to be a sort of a regional governing body. But there are only five people there making decisions for the things that the County does, and the County encompasses how may municipalities which each have how many governing people??? Why is it the bigger the bureaucracy, the smaller the decision-making authority? Seems like we would be in better hands to let local munis have their say on local matters.

scottindallas
scottindallas

"But, the regional governing body needs to be elected, not appointed. "

YES, YES, YES! This body as constructed may not have the same democratic representation as the Supremes require for use of eminent domain. Perhaps, sadly, this is a provision specifically written in by Congress, thus it would carry the case. When were these NTCOGs promulgated? Under what act?

JimS
JimS

Point taken.

JimS
JimS

Looks like really interesting stuff, especially the story on Dish, Tx. What a disaster.

Daniel
Daniel

During the drought several years back, these same suburbanites wailed and tore at their hair because suburbs were rationing their water, but we Dallasites could play in our sprinklers all the livelong day. It infuriated them to think they were subsidizing our profligate folly -- truth be told, it seemed to infuriate them to be asked to council restraint of any kind. They didn't seem to realize that Dallas had -- take a guess -- its own water supply. Its own ample water supply. Its own ample, wet, refreshing, life-giving water supply.

Applebee's-eatin' half-wits.

yeahIsaidthat
yeahIsaidthat

Yeah, like they have their own supply of air and water. Idiots.

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

"That's your problem as a Dallas dweller. "

I was unaware that Dallas' air never blows into the suburbs.

Coleman
Coleman

"fuck you, got mine" doesn't make for good policy, dude.

yeahIsaidthat
yeahIsaidthat

James, you must have your own private water and air supply so you won't have to worry about this issue. Or you must live in Arizona since you have no worries on this issue. The last time I read, we all breathe the same air and we all drink the same water. Funny how those two things make us all equal no matter where we live.

Anonymous
Anonymous

That's the point. If we are competing for people with the suburbs, we shouldn't be working with you on anything. Period. Because you're not looking out for us. The only reason we're looking out for you is because people who live in Dallas/Park Cities own things like construction companies and businesses who want to relocate to the suburbs and want to profit on building neighborhoods out there.

jmccw
jmccw

Given the *regional* nature of the environmental and quality of life problems raised by deep fracking, this is a very short-sighted comment.

JimS
JimS

Yeah. Why cede anything? If we give up control to NCTCOG, what do we get back in payment?

El Rey
El Rey

You can thank the ghost of LBJ and his Great Society programs...

A regional council is a multi-service entity with state and locally-defined boundaries that delivers a variety of federal, state and local programs while continuing its function as a planning organization, technical assistance provider and “visionary” to its member local governments. As such, they are accountable to local units of government and effective partners for state and federal governments.

Conceived in the 1960s, regional councils today are stable, broad-based organizations adept at consensus-building, creating partnerships, providing services, problem solving and fiscal management. The role of the regional council has been shaped by the changing dynamics in federal, state and local government relations, and the growing recognition that the region is the arena in which local governments must work together to resolve social and environmental challenges. Regional councils have carved out a valuable niche for themselves as reliable agents and many operate more independent of federal funding. Comprehensive and transportation planning, economic development, workforce development, the environment, services for the elderly and clearinghouse functions are among the types of programs managed by regional councils. Some states, such as Georgia, have passed legislation that creates a role for regional councils, relying heavily on them to deliver or assist the state with a variety of programs. Of the 39,000 local, general purpose governments in the United States (counties, cities, townships, towns, villages, boroughs) a total of more than 35,000 are served by Regional Councils

Steve
Steve

"During the drought several years back, these same suburbanites wailed and tore at their hair because suburbs were rationing their water, but we Dallasites could play in our sprinklers all the livelong day. "

When was this? Dallas has had water rationing rules in effect during the summer for almost a decade now.

Daniel
Daniel

P.S. And then, when they found out that Dallas had its own water supply -- its own flowing, restorative, luxurious water supply; its own perpetual fount of cooling cascades -- they got all sore and demanded that we give them some. 'Member?

JimS
JimS

No, but we do have higher standards than the typical suburban lay-down mentality.

Montemalone
Montemalone

I thought that was the gop platform?

Texaspainter
Texaspainter

Think red days instead of orange air days. Think water trucks delivering water from other regions for basic services. Think property values sliding down the scale, owners vacating because they can't sell........ Think Dal-troit in the republic of Gasland.

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

I agree. It's very strange (and downright derelict) when any elected official wants to give away his/her jurisdiction to someone else. Usually that means you are about to get royally screwed and he/she wants to get as far away as possible as fast as possible in order to offload blame.

scottindallas
scottindallas

maybe we'll get a deal like DFW where we really screw ourselves out of any gains.

Daniel
Daniel

About 2005-ish? The suburbs had much more draconian rationing, to the point that their lawns were dead. But yeah, I guess we Dallasites probably couldn't actually play in our sprinklers, legally anyway. Dallas has a much better managed water supply than the surrounding area -- it may be the only thing that's better managed, certainly when it comes to infrastructure, but there you have it. (Also, it's possibly county administered, rather than municipal -- don't have time/care enough to look it up.) City manager types from the suburbs knew the score, of course, and they wanted us to sell them our water at a fair price. (Can't remember if we did or not.) It was letter-to--the-editor, DMN-website-commenting suburban citizens who got all in an uproar. They took umbrage at what they perceived as Dallas Exceptionalism. But can you imagine their gloating had the shoe been on the other foot?

scottindallas
scottindallas

Sadly, that link doesn't go anywhere; and, it looks as if that is only available to non-homeowners. I have a toilet that I would replace if someone were to give me a new one. As it is, I will wait for the coincidence of time, money and interest to update that throne.

Steve
Steve

Heh, went to Dallas' website to find the info about the summer water rules and discovered that Dallas is giving away free toilets, well, free if you never paid any taxes i guess. I don't know about you all, but ima get mine - http://savedallaswater.com/hos...

yeahIsaidthat
yeahIsaidthat

I would like to think so but sometimes I really have to wonder when I deal with those who are supposed to be making these decisions for the greater good. It's very scary.

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...