Q&A with Trinity East Manager: Leases, Floodplains, and the Money Beneath Dallas

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Trinity East holdings, click here for larger image.
Four years have passed since Trinity East signed on as the largest gas lease-holder with the city of Dallas, and the company still doesn't know when it will be allowed to drill its first well -- if ever.

As the company's name suggests, Trinity East wants to drill for natural gas along the east side of the Trinity River, but its plans have been been stymied while a city task force works to come up with recommendations for new rules on where gas drilling can take place in the city limits. The company's plans hit another hurdle last week, when the city released a map showing plans to drill in the river's floodplain, on city parkland -- a fact that doesn't sit well with anti-fracking groups, which fear potential pollution and loss of green space.

For Trinity East, another kind of green is at stake. The company has $19 million invested in mineral leases from the city in addition to other agreements with private landowners on a stretch of land snaking along the river from Royal Lane to west of downtown. The Dallas drilling task force had initially voted against allowing hydraulic fracturing on floodplains and parkland, but in a last-minute change, its members voted to recommend that the city's updated ordinance allow both if strict conditions are met. City Council has yet to vote on the revised ordinance.

That was good news for Trinity East, but other recommendations -- including set-back distances and land use restrictions -- would potentially prevent drilling at the company's planned sites. Further complicating Trinity East's plans, its Dallas leases lay at the center of a master plan that includes a system of pipelines and infrastructure linking to drill sites in Irving and Farmers Branch. What all this means is that the company's survival largely depends on its ability to drill and carry out hydraulic fracturing in Dallas, says Steve Fort, a manager and shareholder of the company.

Unfair Park discussed these issues and others with Fort to demystify the company's plans and learn how the city's updated ordinance may potentially affect not only gas exploration, but the company's very existence.

Tell me about the land Trinity East has leased along the Trinity.
I think we originally leased about 3,500 acres that the city owns [the acreage was reduced in an agreement to extend the lease]. There's a golf course, which is a floodplain and it floods periodically. There's a gun range, and frankly, the environmental impact of that is so much greater than ours it's really kind of funny if you think about it, and the rest of [the acreage] is not even being used. It's called parkland, but if you go down there, a lot of the areas, you wouldn't want to go down there at night by yourself. It's not very safe.

And underlying all of that is this massive -- at about a mile and a half deep -- is this massive rock formation. And it is solid rock, and it has miniscule pores in it that are full of natural gas, and that gas is worth billions of dollars, and the taxpayers and the citizens of Dallas own that, and they will receive a huge portion of the revenues from that if we're allowed to do what we were told we could do.

Where do you come up with the billion-dollar figure?
We do engineering reserve studies. That's how oil and gas companies determine where to drill and what the value of their reserves are.

This is kind of the farthest reach of the economic Barnett Shale going eastward. We spent the time and the money to explore it, and we now have the data to prove it up.

How many drilling pad sites would you plan on placing in Dallas when all is said and done -- how many pad sites would Trinity East have in Dallas?
I don't know, we currently have three pending, two of them are on city of Dallas-owned land. But for the park area up there, L.B. Houston area, we only have two sites on city of Dallas property planned. That's all we need.

How many pad sites would Trinity East place on that land in total, notwithstanding the ordinance changes?
We don't have an exact number planned. We planned these three, and then we submitted them and that's when all of this stuff [ordinance changes] started to happen, so we kind of put it on hold until we determine what the city of Dallas is going to do.

Can you give a rough estimate of how many pad sites people should expect, notwithstanding the ordinance changes?
On city of Dallas property? ... There won't be that many within the city of Dallas limits.

Can you give me a ballpark figure?
Five or six, maybe. Very few.

And that's on both private and city land?
Yes.

And five or six would allow you to access all of the gas that you feel you can access.
Again, that's an estimation, but it's in that range, yes.

So when people worry that the flood plain will be dotted with drill sites, that's not how Trinity East intends to develop the land?
A pad site is three to four acres, and on that three to four acres can be 10-15 well heads. So there will be multiple wells but it will be on a limited number of pad sites.

How does Trinity East's Dallas land figure into the whole system you have planned with pipelines and drill sites in other cities?
It's a critical piece of our master plan. In fact, our master plan was built largely in reliance on the city of Dallas piece.

Would a preventative ordinance here affect your ability to transport gas from other cities where you're drilling? Can you explain that?
Yes, we have a master plan for pipelines and transportation of the gas. It all runs through this part of our project. It will have a negative, possibly a terminating impact on our entire project. So there's a lot more at stake than the 19 million dollars that we paid for these leases.

What is Dallas caught between? What won't be connected by this missing link if that ends up being the case?
Well, it will involve Farmers Branch and Irving.

Do you have wells in both those cities now?
We have a well in Irving; we don't have a well in Farmers Branch. We have SUPs that have been granted in both those cities.

Are you holding up drilling there until the Dallas drilling ordinance gets worked out?
Yes.

And what aspects of the recommendations would need to be changed to allow drilling as planned?
I haven't reviewed the final version yet. I know their set-backs are a problem. I know their land uses are a problem. And then there are a myriad of other changes they're proposing that will make it either increase the cost dramatically or make it cost-prohibitive to develop these mineral resources.

Would I be able to see the master plan so I can kind of understand it better?
No, I don't think so. That's just confidential information for our company. It's not public.

The two sites on city property with pending zoning permits -- they're both in the floodplain, correct?
Yes. ... We worked with the parks board in developing those sites and they approved them. And then we also got approval from the Corps of Engineers.

The reality is there's hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of wells that are in and have been in the floodplain in and around Dallas for many, many, many years without incident. In addition, when you put a well in a floodplain, you put the kind of equipment on it that you'd put as if you were in shallow water.

I was unclear on whether a company could drill in a floodplain in Dallas after looking through the ordinance because drilling isn't currently listed as an approved use.
The way it works is, the existing Dallas ordinance does not prohibit drilling -- the statement in the blog [referencing our Buzz column] that the current ordinance prohibits drilling in the floodplain or parklands is totally inaccurate. [Side note from Patrick Williams, the guy who wrote that Buzz post: Right now, city ordinances don't specifically prohibit gas drilling in a floodplain, he says. True. They just don't allow drilling -- unless the rules are changed, that is. Okeedokee. I'll leave it to gas drillers, lawyers and Zen philosophers discuss the subtle differences between things that aren't allowed to happen and things that are prohibited from happening and simply point out this: If Buzz was totally inaccurate, then there's NO REASON for the City Council to accept the task force's OWN FREAKIN' recommendation and change the floodplain rules. Seems like that should be fine with drillers and anti-fracking folks. Win-win! Sheesh.]

The way it works is that all activities in the floodplain are controlled by its own section in the Dallas ordinance. And the way it works and has worked for 100 years is whenever somebody wants to do something in the floodplain that's never been done before, they approach the city, and the city amends it to allow that as an allowed use ... drilling is not on there because nobody's ever approached them before, but when we took the lease, we had that discussion with the city. It was made very clear that adding that as a permitted use would not be an issue. In fact, as late as a year ago, when we were dealing with the staff, they were prepared to put that forward to the City Council and add that as a permitted use.

So we've relied on that, and in fact, drilling on the floodplain is really the best place to use it because those are the areas that are farthest away from residential uses. And there's lots of heavy industrial uses in that area down there in the floodplain.

When you were making these plans and working with the parks board and working with others at the city, was there someone at the city who was spearheading this?
Yes, and we were told that the staff would make that initiation to make that code change, and it was not a big deal.That's what we were told.

Who was it?
I'm not gonna name names because I'd rather not do that.

Was any of this put in writing or in a contract, or was it a verbal understanding?
There was some documentation that I can't discuss.

Why can you not discuss that?
I'd just rather not. We're trying to work with the city. We don't want to get in a fight with the city. But we do expect to drill and access those properties that we've paid a lot of money for. And we believe that the citizens of Dallas deserve to get to reap the benefit of those minerals that they own.

Is there more land leased on private property that's not included on the map [above]?
Yes.

And where is that?
It's all around it.

How much land is leased on private property on land that's not included on the map?
I really can't disclose that. That's kind of proprietary information, but it's a lot.

Why can't you disclose that?
I'd prefer not to. We're a privately held company. We don't disclose our internal business workings.

What do you see as the role of the city's ordinance? What should it aim to protect and what's reasonable?
Well, the problem is that most of the things that the ordinance addresses are already addressed by existing regulatory bodies that have been doing it for decades -- the Texas Railroad Commission, the TCEQ, and the EPA, to a certain extent. And there are a few issues that the city may want to address because it's an urban area, but we're not in a neighborhood. We have one site that's next to a gun range. We won't even be able to compete with the noise put out by the gun range.

Earlier you said by drilling in the floodplain, it often means that your farther away from homes and residential areas. Out of potential places where pad sites may be located, what would be the closest you would go to a home?
Well I can show you hundreds of wells in Fort Worth that are 300 feet from the nearest residential use, and they live in perfect harmony with their neighbors. During the drilling phase, there is some noise, it is a nuisance, and that lasts, like I said, three or four weeks. It's about one-tenth of the time it would take to build a commercial building.

So would some of the pad sites be 300 feet from residences?
No, we're nowhere near any residential uses on our pad sites?

What would be the closest?
At least half a mile.

Is that a policy of your company or ...
No, it just happens to be the sites that we chose; we thought they were best suited for this being in a remote area. And we worked with the parks board to do that.

There would be no drilling closer than a half mile, no matter what the ordinance says.
Right.

So, no drilling closer than a half mile, and in the ballpark of five to six drilling sites if Trinity East is able to carry out its plans.
Well, I'm talking about the current -- when I say a half-mile, there's no residential areas within a half a mile of the two SUPs that we have pending in the city of Dallas on the city of Dallas land. We don't have our other sites picked just yet. But the 300-foot setback that's in the current ordinance, we think that's more than adequate.

If you could make a recommendation to City Council, what would it be?
My recommendation is that they allow us to develop the property on the basis of the ordinance that was in place when they asked us to bid on their properties to lease them, and we did bid based on the ordinance that was in place at that time and the recommendations that were made by the city staff. You know, when you enter into a business deal, you want to be able to rely on certain things. We relied on the ordinance that was in place and the representations made by the city staff.

A vast majority of the recommendations the task force is making were taken from the cities of South Lake and Flower Mound. Those two cities have passed the strictest ordinances they can possibly pass, and they are in effect a de facto ban on drilling. The task force is using as its model, two cities that essentially don't allow any drilling in their city. That's disturbing.

When you were in the planning phase, I'm sure if the city had an ordinance like South Lake in place ...
We wouldn't have bid on it. We wouldn't be in this position, because you don't get involved in a business venture that once you get in you can't do anything with it.

Is there anything you think people should know or other things that you'd like to clear up that may have been misunderstood with all of this?
We think the part of this that's not been discussed is the part that the city of Dallas is facing huge huge shortfalls in its revenues based on its budget. And here you have a tremendous source of revenue is available, and it's not being accessed, and nobody's speaking up for that. Remember, the city of Dallas has a 25 percent royalty interest. That means 25 percent of the revenue from the gas that comes from underneath this land goes straight to the city of Dallas.

When you run the numbers, after we bear the cost of doing what has to be done, the landowners' royalty actually ends up making more money than the operating company makes because it's cost-free. So there's hundreds of millions of dollars available for the city of Dallas citizens, and nobody's speaking up for that.

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34 comments
Words Myth
Words Myth

This guy says you wouldn't want to be in these parklands at night--"unsafe", he said.  Is the Katy Trail safe at night? Would you walk to a 7-11 store at night in any neighborhood in Dallas and be (absolutely) safe? . 

dfw75208
dfw75208

"We worked with the parks board in developing those sites and they approved them"

Uhm, what exactly is a city's parks board supposed to do?  I can't imagine that their charge should include allowing gas drilling on parks.  But, I may be crazy.

Marc
Marc

Steve Fort is a liar and a fraud. He cannot give a straight answer to any question. He makes patently false and inflated statements such as the one about "it is solid rock, and it has miniscule pores in it that are full of natural gas, and that gas is worth billions of dollars, and the taxpayers and the citizens of Dallas own that, and they will receive a huge portion of the revenues from that if we're allowed to do what we were told we could do".

Now, somebody please correct me here if I am wrong, but if something is truly "rock solid", then how can it have "miniscule pores" in it? The word "solid" would logically imply that there is no porosity. This is the perfect example of how conmen use words they do not even understand when trying to sell you a fraudulent scam.

Mr. Fort, show us the proof of all that gas! You cannot do it. ALL oil and gas exploration is a risky gamble like a crap shoot. T. Boone Pickens once said "Nobody will ever make any money drilling for oil and gas in Dallas."

I have a suggestion: if you REALLY believe that the City of Dallas will reap 25% royalty from the "billions of dollars of gas" under our city, then why don't you guys just give us about one billion dollars to buy out our royalty rights, after which time we will allow you to drill and keep ALL the profits and you will be as happy as a pig in shit?

As to your lie about having USACE approval, that would be a matter of public record, so I am going to file a Freedom of Information Act request for any such documents and see if you are telling the truth. If I find such a document, then I will come back and publicly apologize for calling you a liar on this point, but if no such document exists, then I am going to come back and really brand you as the liar you are. I am thinking you got your approval at the same time Tom Leppert got his for the Trinity River Toll Road - another non-existent USACE approval touted by another charlatan and conman.

Hogangaryfwtx
Hogangaryfwtx

I was  a part of the 2 Task Force of the City of Fort Worth in 2006 and 2008. Both of which where highly  Industry influenced under mayor Moncrief. I presented to the Dallas TF last year my 10 minute message was " Dallas Do NOT Do It The Fort Worth Way. This story just needs to be read for  waht it is . An Industry person not willing to answer anything directly. The City of Fort Worth does NOT live harmoniously with gas drilling. Fort Worth will suffer big down the road for allowing gas drilling in all our neighborhoods at as close as 200 ft not 300 ft next to schools and daycares. Fort WOrth projections of earnings from Gas holdings have been reduced by 60 % since  natural gas has fallen to all time lows. Residnets meager  royalties that monthly mail box money has turned into maybe $100.00 a year for most residential lots. The Industry has  Forced others into poor leases through Forced Pooling  and out right Stole mineral interest from others by exemption to Rule 37 takings given to them by that sold out agency meant to protect Citizens of Texas  The faudulantly named Railroad Commission that has nothing to do with railroads for decades. TCEQ  the agency meant to protect our environment  well just do a little  research and see  who's side they are on as they have fought against EPA rules tightening on emissions from gas drilling activity. Dallas  my  best advise is JUST SAY NO > then sit back and watch as The City of Fort WOrth which inspite of gas drilling still faces  40 million dollar deficits for 2013. The future as property values fall due to neighborhoods and residential tax base  goes through the basement. If The City of Fort Worth used ever  cent of gas revenues  for our bad streets we would still have  500 million dollars of needed repair. Our Ordinance  does not make certain that future  city street damaged by Gas trucks will be repaired.  Because I do what I do I have already seen people  start the exodus for someplace without gas wells in ever neighborhood  and childrens Asthema is not approaching 25%.  Dallas  save your health and save your city JUST SAY NO  and make your motto We Did IT The Dallas Way Not The Fort Worth Way. Gary Hogan President NCTCA North Central Texas Communities Alliance

RTGolden
RTGolden

"... And the way it works and has worked for 100 years is whenever somebody wants to do something in the floodplain that's never been done before, they approach the city, and the city amends it to allow that as an allowed use ... drilling is not on there because nobody's ever approached them before, but when we took the lease, we had that discussion with the city...""...The reality is there's hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of wells that are in and have been in the floodplain in and around Dallas for many, many, many years without incident. .."Is this guy really talking out of both sides of his ass?  The quotes are in reverse order here, but in one statement he says there are hundreds and hundreds of wells in the floodplain, and in the next he's claiming that drilling has never been tried in the floodplain and is therefore not 'banned' by ordinance, just 'not allowed'... .yet.

Tim Ruggiero
Tim Ruggiero

Let's not forget about the water usage, either. Judging by what is highly likely a gross underestimation (that's a polite way of saying LIE) regarding the 'planned' 5-6 well sites, each having between 10-15 wells per, and each well taking 3-7 Million gallons of fresh water, even on the low end, that's around 150 Million gallons of water that's forever removed from the hydrological cycle and forever contaminated. Bitch about how many millions golf courses or gun ranges use all you want, Mr. Trinity East, no one is talking about how a golf course ruined millions of gallons of water. On the high end, which is probably a more accurate number, Trinity East will use about 630 Million gallons of fresh water. So, 50-90 drill rigs, not one with filters for the diesel generators, thousands of semi truck trips hauling off the toxic water, an untold number of compressor stations, dehydration units, metering stations and miles of pipelines. 

Mountain Creek
Mountain Creek

I just have to laugh at how secretive the Trinity East guy is.  Is he afraid of something?

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Darrd

Well with All this BITCHING, I Bet  they are glad this deal was signed sealed and Delivered before you Folks Found out !Just Kidding But the truth all the same

And here is the Next soft spoken Spot for the drilling companies. Tag Line The Barnett Shale We won't be telling you things that might scare you !

WCGasette
WCGasette

From the interview above:

"The two sites on city property with pending zoning permits -- they're both in the floodplain, correct?"  Yes ... we worked with the parks board in developing those sites and they approved them. And then we also got approval from the Corps of Engineers.

Opinion about that statement:

Really?  If they really got that approval from the Corps of Engineers back in 2007 (or recently for that matter)...then they need to show everyone that documentation. Our experience shows that by "approval" the industry means they sent a form letter to the downtown Dallas SW District Office telling USACE their plans for making the community a partner with them in shale gas development and in making our country free from foreign oil dependence. Hardly "Asking for Approval." And this form letter likely ended up in the trash since it was not addressed to no one in particular at the Army Corps of Engineer offices. However, they can show the City of Dallas that they did send a letter.  That's what they call "Approval" from the Corps of Engineers that they then deliver to the Parks Board.

Why does Dallas think things will be any different than what has already happened in communities to the West?  There is already a template that works quite nicely for getting it done.

Timothy R. Ruggiero
Timothy R. Ruggiero

Who exactly is this idiot? Notice this guy wouldn't commit himself to anything? They always leave themselves an escape. This is the SAME song and dance we've been hearing and seeing for years. Backroom deals, secret negotiations, find someone or something else to point the finger of blame at that's supposedly worse than drilling, i.e. a gun range, whining and crying with real tears and a fair amount of outrage over contracts signed but unfulfilled because we've pulled back the curtain on their dirty business. Not to mention there  will 'only' be "5-6 well sites...or in that range" As of TODAY. Tomorrow, it'll turn into 20. Do the math: 3500 leased acres. 5-6 well sites of 3-4 acres each Even on the high end, that's 24 acres. I don't know what the 3500 acres were reduced to, but it wasn't 24 acres. And these people wonder why they have a 'public perception problem'. Easy-it's because they also have a larger credibility problem that no amount of promised riches can overcome.

Sharon Wilson
Sharon Wilson

Pretty slippery on the number of wells and distance from residences there fella. 

This quote works both ways: "You know, when you enter into a business deal, you want to be able to rely on certain things. We relied on the ordinance that was in place and the representations made by the city staff."

You know, when you enter into a business deal, you want to be able to rely on certain things. The City of Dallas relied on claims that industry can drill and frack in a safe manner. Now we know that is not currently possible. 

EastDallasResident
EastDallasResident

Whoooeee!  It's hard not to like a plan that would put a gas well near Bachman Lake under the over-run for the Love Field runways.  Has anyone checked with the FAA to see if they have any ideas?  I think if this goes through I'll be very careful to book flights out of DFW - no sense taking a chance on becoming a Texas Bar-B-Que if the plane doesn't make take off speed . . .

Tim Covington
Tim Covington

As someone who uses both the parkland and the gun range he denigrates, I have to say that his company and the city of Dallas made a bad decision. The LB Houston trails are wonderful. You see lots of wildlife and it is very serene. I encourage people to walk or bike them. As to the Elm Fork gun range, this is the only range I know of where an average person can take part in any sort of shotgun shooting sport in Dallas County. The only other range that offers facilities is a limited membership range that requires a $5000 initiation fee and $85/month. That's just a wee bit expensive for most people. Elm Fork is also home to one of the only publicly available archery ranges in Dallas county. And, it is my understanding that golf course is one of the most affordable in Dallas county too. 

I hear claims that they want people to get outside and exercise more. Yet, they seem to be waging a war against anything that isn't a concrete trail for people to walk on. Some of us prefer the dirt trails and to do other activities that do not force onto narrow little concrete paths.

Gangy
Gangy

Who was the Park Board President and the Director of the Parks Department during the time of those negotiations?

claytonauger
claytonauger

Billions? Please. At the prices gas is selling for? And the floodplain is in fact very close to neighborhoods depending which part you're looking at. He'd drill in Central Park if he could. This guy is incredible. 

Lemurskin
Lemurskin

Sorry you might get screwed Mr. Trinity East but the first rule of entering into a deal with this city is you better be sure you get it writing and signed by the appropriate official. I have seen this before on much smaller level and the city won out.

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

Reading this, is mind boggling due to the fact that this was all worked out under the radar with the Dallas City Manager and Trinity East Energy back in 2007 and the details are just now coming to the surface.For putting together this agreement with the industry without public discussion and transparency, Mary Suhm should be removed from her job as City Manager of Dallas. I want to see the data that says Dallas is sitting on top of 'billions of dollars' of reveune, because according to Chesapeake Energy it's not there.

Somebody is lying and the trouble is, you can't tell the difference between the industry and those who negotiated the deal.

TheTruth
TheTruth

There exists undeniable outlets of assistance for Dallas or any city that seeks information. Unfortunately I have not seen that happen

Marc
Marc

RT, one of the primary requirements and qualification for working in the oil and gas industry is that you have to be a pathological liar without integrity who would sell his own grandmother for a buck. Talking out both sides of their asses is what O&G people do best. Frankly, I think they are too stupid to even realize it when they say contradictory things because they do it constantly. And, when they get caught they just ignore it and go on about their business-as-usual strategy of trying to dupe everybody.

A lot of people lie, but the O&G industry is the trade association for professional liars. It is probably where politicians go to learn the "craft."

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

 Signed, sealed, and delivered doesn't mean shit until it's over, and it's far from that.

WCGasette
WCGasette

Actually, no one knew then (2007) what we know now (2012).  Finding out that something is very harmful to the future of Dallas calls for a reboot.

Marc
Marc

Tim, Trinity East never intended to drill wells on all 3,500 acres. They just leased that land because, being "good neighbors" and all, they wanted to help out poor, destitute Dallas and make Mary Suhm look good by channeling $19 million into city coffers. I believe every word that Fort Said. I think they will only drill in 5-6 locations of a few acres each, and NEVER, EVER pollute anything. I mean, have they ever polluted anywhere before now?

We should just trust them to do what is right, and to always put public health and safety ahead of corporate profits. It is, after all, the American Way! Don't you agree?

(For those who do not know, this comment is purely sarcastic!)

WCGasette
WCGasette

Do you not realize that DFW Airport is already built out with horizontal, shale gas wells under the runways and pipelines everywhere with more to come?  Since you didn't know, maybe this is that "secretive" part.

[...]Since spudding its first airport well in May 2007, Chesapeake has drilled 112 natural gas wells on the property and plans to drill 14 more by the end of 2014, Wilson said.[...]

http://www.bizjournals.com/dal...

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

 What the City of Dallas doesn't like to acknowledge is that Dallas is a 'home rule' city. It's part of the City Charter. This means that the City of Dallas can set extremely high standards for anything they want above and beyond State and Federal levels. Beginning tomorrow, I would urge everyone to listen to each council member and listen to what each one says about this issue. This will tell you exactly what their intentions are and how they think the City of Dallas should proceed with a stronger gas ordinance to protect not only the environment but the residents as well.

NewsDog
NewsDog

He didn't really denigrate Elm Fork he made a pretty salient point that with all the lead that has been fired in/at/over/around the range his drilling site is probably less of an environmental hazard. 

(full disclosure... I have been shooting at Elm Fork since the mid '70s)  

Guest
Guest

Mary Suhm should be removed from her job as City Manager of Dallas

I make this suggestion so often and on such a large variety of subjects that I've made a macro to save typing time.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Okay so HOW is the deal reopened  ?I am sure these folks  have a great Legal legs to stand on with the Bargaining in good faith with the City's agent City Manager Ms Shum and If I read correctly it has been signed off on  also in good Faith by those who control our Parks . The Deal is Done . Like 5 years ago .

Where do the citizens make a stand ? The powers that be have gone to great efforts and quite successfully I might add to not even clue the Citizens in.

To Quote you Darrd2010 "Reading this, is mind boggling due to the fact that this was all worked out under the radar with the Dallas City Manager and Trinity East Energyback in 2007 and the details are just now coming to the surface."

You seem to be very informed and you seemed to be very surprised ....

My guess is as it was a few months ago.......

The Gusher or Gas Pocket might this bunch might have hit is the CITY OF DALLAS and the parting gifts they will get when they are paid to go away

Another concern and I guess the Dollar Signs in their eyes have blinded them to the idea the Fracking under 100 year old Dirt works might not be a good idea .

TheTruth
TheTruth

WCGasette, You are incorrect. DFW Airport has drilled 114 of over 300 proposed wells. Each well can undergo further workover activity, including re-fracs every as often as every 2 years.

WCGasette
WCGasette

The industry knows that defining shale gas drilling as "Industrial Activity" means zoning it "Industrial."  And "Industrial Zoning" is what they don't want.  Convincing "Home Rule" cities to the West that shale gas drilling was NOT "Industrial," is the only way they got it done so smoothly in the suburban and urban neighborhoods sitting atop the Barnett Shale formation. Neighborhood drilling and fracking is the ticket.  All that "clean" energy.  Children and pets playing, flying kites and romping through and near the gas wells. The TV ads make it all so blissful.  But it's really poison.  And it is why Dallas must not let this happen...because it would be truly dumb to allow heavy, industrial mining inside the city limits.

Marc
Marc

One single frac job using 50-100,000 gallons of toxic, carcinogenic and neurotoxic chemicals mixed with an average of 4.5 million gallons of water would induce FAR more pollution than all the lead from pistols, revolvers, rifles and shotguns that will ever be discharged at the gun range combined. All that lead is contained within above-ground, easily removable berms, and it does not pollute surrounding soil, air or water.

I am sure that you are correct about Steve Fort thinking that his operations would be less polluting, but then too, he is delusional about everything else, so it makes sense that he would be deluded into believing his own bullshit on this point, as well.

City Employee
City Employee

 Just a clarification, denials of CPC action can always be appealed to City Council.  When it's denied with prejudice, it means they can't reapply for two years (unless Council grants a two year waiver).  Without prejudice allows the applicant to essentially make some changes to their application and resubmit at any time.

Marc
Marc

Lemme take a crack at this.

The City of Dallas signed land leases with Trinity East (and XTO Energy.) Those land leases did NOT state that they would be allowed to drill and explore for minerals. They were merely land leases, and those leases specifically stipulated that EACH well would REQUIRE a Special Use Permit (SUP) to rezone the land for a heavy industrial process, which it is, because the areas where the leases exist are not curently zoned for that use, and AFTER the SUP is granted, then the operator would be required to obtain a DRILLING PERMIT from the City Council.

Without an SUP no drilling permit can legally be obtained, and with no drilling permit no drilling can legally be done.

The SUP process entails going before the Dallas City Plan Commission to request a zoning change for the land. The DCPC is responsible for determining if the proposed change and the activity which it would bring is compatible with other city, state and federal codes, laws and regulations. The DCPC has three options available when considering an SUP: (1) approve the SUP and send it to the City Council for ratification; (2) deny the SUP without prejudice, in which case it goes to the City Council where the denial can either be upheld or overturned; (3) deny the SUP with prejudice in which case it never goes to the City Council and it is dead for a minimum of at least two years, and in which case no drilling permit can be issued.

This like an apartment lease. You may lease an apartment, but you are not free to move in just anybody, or any number of people, that you want living with you, you are not allowed to modify the structure, or even put nails in walls without written permission EVEN THOUGH YOU HAVE A LEASE!

Trinity East paid $19 million to lease land, and then got a free 30-month extension on their leases. They already got almost double what they paid for. Had they requested their SUPs before we got wind of the hazards of frac'ing, then all this would be a done deal and we would not be having this discussion. Instead, Trinity East waited until their leases were about to expire and then tried to get their SUPs, but we were already onto their scam and put a halt to it.

They will threaten to sue, but they will never do it because any judge would read the language of the leases and determijne just what I said above - the leases were not for a right to drill. They were for exclusive leases to the land. Failing to satify the requirements for drilling is not a failure of the lessor, but rather of the lessee. If they sue, then they will have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, perhaps millions of dollars, in a court case that, if they lose, would set a precedent against them that would end their ability to ever again threaten a lawsuit to get their way. It is a no-win situation for the drilling companies. They would wipe out all other companies, as well as themselves.

We have had this same conversation many times before. How many times does it have to be repeated? There is a reason why they do not sue cities.

WCGasette
WCGasette

It is a "fake out." More of our N. Texas cities need to take all of it to the courts.  

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

 I happened to witness a conversation in City Hall with an Asst. City Manager and three attorneys talking about the legalese of the leases and how they 'may or may not guarantee a right to drill'. Check out the leases. The language is not there.The City Attorney told our group when asked about the language...'well you know nuance plays a part in this deal'. Well,if that were the case, then the court system would be even more f'd up than it is already. So I say, let's take this before a judge and let the courts decide if this lease deal 'guarantees putting a pipe in the ground'. That's the last thing the industry wants to be involved in, and the funny thing is that they have the Council scared every time the industry brings up the word 'litigation'. It's the best 'fake out', I've ever seen.

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