Gas Drillers' Reps to Task Force: 1,000-Foot Set-Back Rule Would Be a "Deal-Killer"

2008GasDrillingBriefing.jpg
Four long years ago these were the sites where the city was prepared to allow gas drilling.
After a few weeks off, the city's Gas Drilling Task Force gets back at it today at 2. The agenda's short and sweet -- "Develop Recommendations for Gas Drilling and Production Regulations" -- but the process has been anything but; initially, you may recall, the group was to turn in its recommendations to council in November. And now, this: Yesterday Dallas Cothrum and former city council member Mark Housewright of MasterPlan Consulting, which reps the gas-drilling companies with leases in the Dallas city limits, dispatched to task force members a missive decrying the 1,000-foot set-back limits agreed upon by the task force last month.

Raymond Crawford posted the letter to his website this morning; it's also below. Cothrum tells Unfair Park this morning he sent the letter, which outlines other concerns, because the set-back recommendation is "a deal-killer" as far as his clients are concerned.

"No one would make application in Dallas again if that changes," he says. "It's not just 1,000 feet. It's 100-and-something acres, and that's fine in Flower Mound, which is half-developed, and Southlake, which is maybe more than half-developed. But it's more than 1,000 feet when you look at it. Now you're going from the edge of the pad to the protected use, which is actually 1,100 feet, 1,200 feet. If you're using Flower Mound or Southlake as your template, you're essentially issuing a moratorium. No one will even take the time to submit."

Cothrum points out: The task force's recommendation only concerns new leases. But, of course, XTO Energy and Trinity East Energy are still waiting for the OK to drill on their respective sites for which they paid the city $34 million four years ago. After having asked the city for their specific use permits to begin drilling, they agreed to 30-month extensions while the new regs are hashed out.

And as far as Cothrum's concerned, that 1,000 set-back rule, if it makes it through council, could impact those existing leases as well: "The council can pass whatever it wants, and we have concerns the task force is setting the bar so high nobody can reach it. ... Because it's a SUP process the council could say the 1,000 feet is what's appropriate, which is why the industry's spending time and money on us going and following this -- because it matters which number they pick. When it's 1,000 from the pad site, that makes it hard."

Angela Hunt, you may recall, said back in June, at a Gasland screening, that she fully expects XTO and Trinity East to sue the city over those existing leases at Hensley Field and L.B. Houston. Cothrum doesn't know because he doesn't ask: "I have no idea if they might sue the city or not." But, he insists, if the city sticks with that new set-back recommendation, Dallas is "missing out on a couple hundred million in revenue. ... And people who know about urban drilling aren't scared of it."Master Plan Document

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29 comments
Hogangaryfwtx
Hogangaryfwtx

Fort Worth heard all these same sorry arguments.  Pad sites can also be limited in size to no more than 5 acres.  Let's do some math if 1,000 ft is to far but 600 ft as in Fort Worth is OK ( of course most are asked and granted waivers up to 200 to 300 ft ) ??? HMMM OK  They can drill 6 to 7 thousand feet down , then go horizontal for 1 to 1 1/2 miles Amazing right ? But then Industry claims that pushiing them back 400 ft jeopardizes a well  or ability to acquire ,imeral interests to those that have leased?   Move back and push your lateral  400 ft. If you can't do it now  figure it out. BY the  way most people that actually live near gas well sites DO NOT think all is fine and in most cases now feel buyer's remorse for leasing  and the few pieces of silver  they have made against the loss of property value, loss of quality of life  and imposition of activity they invited into their neighborhoods.  

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Is is true that Masterplan is actually allowed to have dedicated office space in a non-public area of the Planning Department on the 5th floor of City Hall?

If true, that seems highly unorthodox.

Guest
Guest

I find it very hard to believe that the city would use the Special Use Permit process to go from a promised "limited regulation"  in order to balance interests to what is, according to this dude,  effectively an outright ban. I've never heard of this city ever using the SUP process to do such a thing.

(Not that I'm against a 1,000 foot setback).

heart and soul
heart and soul

So 1000 ft is OK for a rural site but too much for an urban site because the land costs more? What?

The task force has the job of making recommendations to keep residents safe not to make gas drilling profitable. This letter from Dallas and Mark is pretty interesting. They say here that industry can't control admissions and can't control the noise and the mess and still make a profit. Gee. Save this letter for the lawsuit. LOL. I can't believe the industry hired these clowns.

Old Roo
Old Roo

Dallas Cothrum declared himself eligible for the 1992 NBA draft, coming out of Austin College (Dallas Morning News, May 15, 1992, page 8b). Still funny to me. Wish I had thought of it. 

yeahIsaidthat
yeahIsaidthat

Didn't Willie Cothums have something to do with that tree desecration out a Cedar Vista a while back? Seems like the whole family is shady.

Texaspainter
Texaspainter

Mark Housewright.....oh yeaaaah, the one who made off with the files to The Oak Cliff Tribune and never paid his staff or bills....THAT Mark Housewright: loser.

Cliff
Cliff

Drill Baby DrillWe need the money.Nobody has ever been harmed by a drilling.

TXsharon
TXsharon

Industry should innovate so they can operate safely or they MUST adhere to a greater set back. We know that 1000 feet is now protective of public health. What industry is asking would create sacrifice zones.

Gangy
Gangy

The health and safety of the community is far more valuable than drilling leases and money.  The money the city could get from these energy companies couldn't pay for the damage done to public health, public roadways, and property values.

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

Apparently, Mark Housewright wrote this cry baby document for Dallas, hence his newspaper past keeps biting him in the ass.In the last paragraph, the word 'aware' should be 'away'.  Still can't write worth a damn.

claytonauger
claytonauger

"People who know about urban drilling" actually live near the sites and wish they didn't. They aren't lobbyists or CEOs who live in places that wouldn't dare allow a rig within miles of their McMansions.

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

See ya at the podium Dallas.

claytonauger
claytonauger

Might want to go back a few years (1989-90) to the Dixico haz waste incinerator fight and the resulting zoning of new haz waste, medical waste or garbage incinerators. Very much the same. Task Force with recommendations that Council followed. Result - no commercial haz waste, medical waste, or garbage incinerators.

kpduty
kpduty

Beware of Cothrum. He represented the original developer of this project (who clear cut 70+ acres of old-growth trees, tried to level a hilly area, scraped off all topsoil, etc.). It looks like he is now representing a new developer for the same area who wants to toss out everything that the Cedar Vista residents fought for several years ago. The city of Dallas had to be pushed into what little it did to enforce its own tree mitigation ordinance against the developers of this project.

kpduty
kpduty

One of Housewright's employees had to file with the TWC to get the backpay owed to them. Mr. Do-the-right-thing, anyone?

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

By the drilling, no.By what happens next, oh yeah.

Sharson
Sharson

NOT, 1000 feet is NOT protective.

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

Tell that to Mayor Mike and see what response you get. He's good at answering emails.

Gangy
Gangy

I noticed a few other errors, as well.

Guest
Guest

I was thinking about how the SUP process was introduced in Lower Greenville when it was supposedly sold to property owners as one thing and, once in place, it's frequently used outside of that supposedly intended use (and results in an effective ban of some kinds of business).

And the sarcasm didn't really come across.

kpduty
kpduty

Oops, need to clarify. The father, Willie Cothrum, represented the original developer. The son, Dallas, now represents the new developer. Maybe he learned all he knows from dad.

Willie
Willie

So why is a 1000 foot setback not protective of health?

pak152
pak152

so I followed your second link and buried in the article is this "it appears the fire ignited from a propane tanker," what??? you implied it was from drilling not a propane tanker. see this is what makes the antis so dishonest because the fire took place at  a well site it must have been caused by the drilling. maybe we should ban propane tankers now because they might catch on fire. so far no update to the story 5 days later.

I would hazard that more people have benefited from drilling than have been harmed by drilling

pak152
pak152

that is correct problems can occur during drilling but how many such incidents have occurred out of the hundreds if not thousands of wells that have been drilled. You make it seem as if well fires, etc are everyday occurrences. Cherry picking is nice, but why not give the whole picture? oh! yeah that's right it wouldn't support your hypothesis

pak152
pak152

"there is no scientific proof that drilling in urban areas is safe" so what do you say to the folks in Tarrant county? drilling has been taking place in urban areas for quite sometime. Did you know that there are active wells on the grounds of Beverly Hills Hi in California?

and there is no scientific proof that says urban drilling is not safe.

considering how much drilling has taken place in the Barnett Shale one would think based upon your hysterical postings that the area should  be totally devastated by now from explosions etc. but I can't find any stories about explosions, just a bunch of hand wringing NIMBY websites

TXsharon
TXsharon

A 1000 foot setback is not protective of health because we have proof that the toxics from the emissions disperse OVER a half mile from the facility. 

Also, we don't know what the blast zone radius might be. Simply put, there is no scientific proof that drilling in urban areas is safe. NONE. 

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