A Liveblog As City Council Meets Its First Round of Finalists for the Gas Drilling Task Force

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Task force nominees await their turn to chat with the council. It only gets more exciting from here.
Welcome back to Dallas City Hall for the epic second episode of the gas drilling task force selection process, where the ad hoc committee of city council members will be meeting candidates for face to face interviews.

Councilman-elect Scott Griggs is in the audience, taking notes as Carolyn Davis interrupts Linda Koop for procedural points of order. Well, she wants to know if she can share her handout with Sheffie Kadane, because she left hers at home. That's your new neighbor at the horseshoe, Scott!

Koop offers her gratitude to all the candidates who've applied for spots on the committee so far. "Thank you very much for wanting to spend your summer... and your fall with us," she says. Based on what she's heard, she expects nine or 10 of the finalists to be here for interviews today.

Meet that first batch of finalists after the jump.

But, first! Delia Jasso -- who's not on the ad hoc committee -- has dropped by to nominate John McCall, the past president of the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League, for a spot on the slate of finalists. Jasso says her concern is that of the 67 applicants, only six came from the southern sector.

Davis says she understands the concern, but if he wanted to be on the committee, he should have applied like everyone else. Jasso says he did. He was in the book of applicants, just didn't get picked to be a finalist.

Ron Natinsky says he's fine with adding McCall, but says there was never an effort to keep southern Dallas out of the process.

And now, to the comments as we liveblog this son of a gun.
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92 comments
Green Party of Dallas County
Green Party of Dallas County

In reviewing the first set of 10 candidates it appears that five are solidly in favor of drilling (Brian "Patrick" Shaw, Bruce Bullock, Scott Deatherage, John McCall, Jon C. Napper).  Two more appear to have some ties favoring the industry, Frank Lopez due to the link between ALA and Chesapeake Energy and Margaret Keliher's stated concern for economic development. I'm happy to be wrong about either or both of those two and would love to hear more from those with greater insight and vetting resources.  If seven of the 10 candidates so far interviewed do indeed support gas drilling, then hopes are slim for a task force not biased in thier favor.

Mountain Creek
Mountain Creek

Funny how the most important question of the day seems to have been: "have you been on-site while they were fracking"?  Can a person not be very well informed about a topic without having been on-site?  Also, it's a complete TRAVESTY that the southern sector and, specifically, District 3, is under-represented in this process.  There was a great opportunity to put a very well-informed representative of the community, Ed Meyer, in this process, but that seems to have been blocked because he backed Griggs over Neumann in the election.  Disgusting.

Go Frack Yourself, Moneybags
Go Frack Yourself, Moneybags

Right this second CNN is running a story about how man-made earthquakes -- directly attributed to and caused by natural gas drilling sites-- are happening every day in Arkansas. One was a 4.7 and caused a shitload of damage. Are we really this stupid? We're going to inflict this kind of damage on our citizens and their property just for a fast buck?

Patrick Michels
Patrick Michels

And... that's it for the interviews. We'll be back for the rest this Thursday afternoon at the same place -- and, just a tip, might be worth studying film from a drill site -- at the very least -- just in case you bump into Sheffie Kadane. He might ask about it.

Patrick Michels
Patrick Michels

Natinsky asks what she thinks about the leases the city's already made to XTO. Blazer says it's really just up to the council to decide how strict they want to be about how much drilling they allow.

Natinsky asks if she has an open mind: "My mind is very open on the subject."

Patrick Michels
Patrick Michels

Sheffie Kadane: "Have you ever been on a drill site?"

Cherelle Blazer: "I have, yes. In my professional capacity with Environmental Defense Fund."

SK: "You have? Have you been there when they were drilling?"

CB: "I have.

SK: "So... you've seen 'em frack?"

CB: "I have seen them frack yes."

Patrick Michels
Patrick Michels

Davis asks the scripted question about whether gas drilling can be done safely.

"There are a lot of safeguards that are not currently in place that would make it safer," Blazer says. "I honestly think the industry was taken aback with how much pollution was involved."

Patrick Michels
Patrick Michels

Last up, then, Cherelle Blazer, another regular at City Hall's various gas drilling events, formerly of Environmental Defense Fund and now with You Can't Live in the Woods.

Patrick Michels
Patrick Michels

Incidentally, Koop says there's one more candidate left today -- and by my count, that'd leave eight for Thursday's round of interviews.

Patrick Michels
Patrick Michels

Hunt clarifies that those mineral rights Napper's talking about aren't the ones under his home in Preston Hollow.

Napper tells Hunt he does see plenty more work to do on Dallas' drilling ordinance. "Distances, house, proximity, environmental issues. Spilling the fracking water, those types of issues, penatlies involved."

Patrick Michels
Patrick Michels

Griggs takes a turn reading a question off the sheet, at Koop's request, for the next candidate, Jon C. Napper.

"I don't pretend to be the expert on drilling," Napper says. "I think there's a lot of scare in the industry right now with a lot of the media attention." Says he'd represent a little of the common business sense.

"I think the city's financial situation needs to be considered as well as the environmental issues." He tells Griggs he "absolutely" does own mineral rights in Mountain Creek.

"I believe the media has done an extremely good job at scaring the life out of everybody with drilling."

You're welcome...?

Patrick Michels
Patrick Michels

Marc McCord, frequent flyer at all the City Hall gas drilling events is up now, a former chair of the Dallas Downriver Club.

He says he has "no doubt that it's possible" to drill safely. "The question to me is will it be done," he says. "I think the enforcement of those rules and regulations lacks incredibly."

Natinsky asks McCord what he things about the city having leased land to XTO Energy, and now considering denying its SUP's. McCord says it's not the city's fault that XTO waited until the last minute, then was surprised things didn't go smoothly. "The city went above and beyond what they were required by law to do," he says, by extending their leases."

Patrick Michels
Patrick Michels

Kadane asks his question about the wells. Lopez hasn't personally injected any fracking fluid into any wells. But. "I was born an raised in Lubbock. I've been around."

Thus assured of his qualifications, Kadane asks the followup, wondering if Lopez thinks the Railroad Commission adequately regulates the oil and gas industry.

Lopez says it's a mess, with TCEQ running the permits and the RRC handling all the water issues with the industry. "There's a disconnect between those that can enforce it and those that permit it."

Patrick Michels
Patrick Michels

"Our organization's position is that it's a transition fuel between renewables and fossil fuels," Lopez says. The ALA, he says, has supported new infrastructure to support natural gas, and other fossil alternatives to oil.

Patrick Michels
Patrick Michels

Next up, the American Lung Association's Frederick Lopez.

Natinsky comes in with his usual question, whether Lopez things gas drilling can be done safely. Lopez says sure.

The technology doesn't exist right now to increase the amount of capture that's done at the well site, Lopez says, but says there other ways to improve emissions controls.

claytonauger
claytonauger

So they want a Chamber official on, but not a District 3 resident Like Ed Meyer, whose a Neighborhood Association prez and been involved since Day 1? This is a Dave move.

Patrick Michels
Patrick Michels

Griggs! With a new question! He wonders if McCall has given any thought to the pipelines that'd have to go in along with a well site.

Whether it's a pipeline or trucks that have to run in and out of the site, McCall says, noise, light and environmental issues would all have to be considered in changes to the city ordinance.

Patrick Michels
Patrick Michels

"Mr. McCall. Have you ever been ona drilling rig?" asks Neumann. Just kidding. That was Kadane.

McCall says no.

"Have you ever watched 'em drill one?"

No, he says, because he was working during the day when the operation was going on. "But I guess your question is about the noise and the light."

"Yeah." Kadane nods and smiles. Someone's finally guessed his game.

Patrick Michels
Patrick Michels

McCall tells Margolin he's also experienced with zoning issues, thanks to work in his law practice.

"The concern that I had is that we needed a voice from the area that I live in," Jasso says.

McCall says he couldn't agree more -- this is his backyard we're talking about drilling in. "Anything that affects our water table and our air is a personal as well as a professional concern."

Patrick Michels
Patrick Michels

McCall says he lives and works in Oak Cliff. "I believe we're in a pivotal time here in the city of dallas, both in terms of funding and resources." Gas drilling, he says, is a revenue stream we shouldn't shut out, as long as it's done right.

Patrick Michels
Patrick Michels

Now John McCall, the late addition made at Jasso's request, is up to channel the voice of the southern sector for the council.

Neumann comes in with question one:"Do you believe safeguards can be put in place to make urban gas drilling safe?"

"Oh absolutely, yes," he says. Really, they'd be lousy safeguards if they didn't.

Patrick Michels
Patrick Michels

Hunt is checking out the Maguire Institute's board members, and notes that they're a lot of energy companies. She wonders if there are any environmental groups on that board. Not now, he says, but he pretty much "inherited that board." They're also funded by SMU, not just the industry.

Is it fair to say, Hunt wonders, that the institute's main purpose is to prepare students for work in the industry? It is, he says.

So Hunt says she thinks he'd belong in the 'industry rep' category, not just as a subject matter expert.

Patrick Michels
Patrick Michels

"I believe it's currently become a debate of the absolutes," he tells Natinsky about gas drilling, when there's no reason for it to be absolute.

Patrick Michels
Patrick Michels

He answers a followup from Kadane by saying, if nothing else, the Railroad Commission suffers most of all from an image problem, but still: "To date, there does not appear to be that many problems raised with what's been done."

"I consider myself an equal opportunity offender. I think I raise enough questions on both sides that I'll be viewed as subjective."

Susanne
Susanne

Upthread, Mr. Natinsky asks if Cherelle Blazer has an "open mind."  I have to wonder if the members of this selection committee shouldn't ask themselves that question as well. Good grief,  Mr. Meyer is president of the Fox Hollow Homeowners Association in the heart of Mountain Creek and just a hop-skip-and-a-jump from numerous established and proposed drilling sites in the Camp Wisdom/Mountain Creek/Dallas Baptist College shale gas corridor. http://www.cornerstoneams.com/...

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

word has it, he has business property out at Mt.Creek so one can assume he is shopping for a second home in Hawaii(so he thinks) at this point ....

WCGasette
WCGasette

Is it the "media" that has scared everybody? Or is the entire process frightening as experienced by "people" dealing with all of it in the Barnett Shale. The media is the messenger last I looked.

Susanne
Susanne

TCEQ runs the permits?  What permits?  That's a really bad answer if he means the gas drilling permits and if he really said that. TCEQ doesn't do gas drilling permitting.  The Railroad Commission has that honor.

claytonauger
claytonauger

Someone ask if the ALA gets any money from the gas industry to say things like that.

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

Brilliant answer. Seriously.

Susanne
Susanne

Ed Meyer should be on this task force.  He lives so close to all the activity that isn't even on the radar, yet, in Mountain Creek.  He and his wife Claudia arranged for all the recent meetings in their community. He is very concerned about all of it. Why not Ed???

Susanne
Susanne

There's no say in the pipelines. That's the problem for cities. We wanted a bill passed in Austin that would give municipalities greater control.  But you see, the gas gathering pipelines are considered a "utility" by Texas law...and they enjoy the same rules for placing them anywhere the gas operators decide....even though the gas operators are a private corporation.

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

It's all about the pipelines and to date, no one wants to talk about them. This infrastructure is called 'the second shoe' that still has not dropped in the public view, yet. But it is being built under the radar. We got that map too from Dallas county.

yeahIsaidthat
yeahIsaidthat

Oy vey! he wants on this bad. Is Dave turgid?

yeahIsaidthat
yeahIsaidthat

its never safe, but whatever....Dave's leaving.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Exactly... it's essentially an industry-funded center whose associate director, Bernard Weinstein, has a track record of academic dishonesty earned through apparently renting his credentials out as a paid shill.

yeahIsaidthat
yeahIsaidthat

they absolutely do not do the right thing.they absolutely pollute the air.they absolutely ruin the environment.

Susanne
Susanne

The "problem" with the Railroad Commission is they DON'T REGULATE shale gas drilling. There need to be new laws from the Texas legislature. And based on what just happened, the industry is in control of all of that.

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

Wow.  Now that's spin.  Property owners and environmentalists both have complained for years about the Railroad Commission's failure and refusal to protect ground water and air quality around drilling sites.  Also capped and abandoned well sites. 

yeahIsaidthat
yeahIsaidthat

The Railroad Commission has an image problem due to the fact that they are 'whores' of the industry.

Edgar
Edgar

Wonderful syllogism.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

One of the American Lung Association's largest backers is now Chesapeake Energy.  Moreover, Chesapeake and the ALA have undertaken a variety of joint programs.  The ALA is also a supporter of the Pickens Plan.

Here's one place to start looking at the ties between the American Lung Association and the natural gas industry:  http://breathecleanair.org/ind...

If you spend a half hour on Google, you will be able to turn up all sorts of conflicts with respect to the American Lung Association.

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