Dallas Plan Commission To Reconsider Illegal Floodplain Fracking, For Some Reason

Categories: City Hall

trinity east.jpg
Dallas Area Residents for Responsible Drilling
Trinity East wants to frack the Trinity floodplain.
Last time the City Plan Commission voted to deny a request to frack the Trinity River floodplain, its rationale seemed pretty clear: For now, it runs contrary to a city law that says fracking land prone to flooding isn't such a swell idea.

The commissioners felt plum awkward on December. 20. With little experience in the arena of metropolitan drilling, they were tasked with considering special-use permits for shale gas wells requested by producer Trinity East. Meanwhile, City Council members had yet to vote on a long-gestating, revised drilling ordinance that would clear things up for them considerably. So, the decision didn't look all that difficult. Change city code, render this proposal lawful, and we'll take it up later.

Later came sooner than we thought. Chairman Joe Alcantar, who was one of the yes votes for the SUP, agreed to reconsider the proposal Friday, and a hearing has been set for Thursday. Unless the law changes in the next few days (which it won't), sinking wells in a floodplain considered parkland will still violate current city ordinance, and the commissioners' misgivings will remain -- and so may its rejection of the SUPs.

To clear that hurdle, the measure will require a super-majority in the City Council. Should be an interesting hearing Thursday, so tune into Unfair Park. We'll be there.


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20 comments
bmarvel
bmarvel

Would it be too much to ask the Observer to print -- and display online -- a large, fully legible map of the Dallas area showing exactly where energy companies are currently at work and where they have leased land for drilling, fracking or disposal of waste. I know there's a map out there somewhere, but not all of us can get down to city hall and the version that pops up online every now and then is too small to interpret accurately. For example, one I saw some time ago on this very website seems to show that the city has leased land for drilling in a park about three blocks from my house. (The park abuts a public elementary school, by they way.) But, really, the map was too small to tell for sure.

roo_ster
roo_ster

As part of the "drill baby drill" coalition, my default position is...drill.  And frack like motherfracking minks freebasing viagra.  I loves me some petroleum industry, sure enough.  Something to do with with maintaining material progress and not descending into a patchouli-stinking-hippie-imposed dark age.

As a property owner in a residential area, though, I would be a mite cautious about allowing a drilling rig to set up shop across the street.  City of Dallas gov't would be wise(1) to set up some standards to attenuate neighborhood impacts and (most importantly) devolve a lot of the decision-making to the neighborhoods.  

 If the drillers sweeten the pot enough for the neighborhood property owners, let them roll.  If not, make them move on.  This way, folks in poorer neighborhoods who may more appreciate revenue from the mineral rights can say, "drill, baby, drill" and pocket the needed cash while folks in affluent neighborhoods can say, "No thanks, that is not enough for us to risk our property values and neighborhood integrity."

The worst outcome would be the riotous azz-clowns on the council to impose one standard and one decision for the entirety of the city.  If they have any questions, I can assure them they are not smart enough to make the drill/no-drill decision for each individual Dallas neighborhood.

Last, I am not so hot to plant infrastructure in a flood plain, other than sturdy bridges and/or elevated roadways to cross it at narrow/convenient points.  Slapping a rig and pumping unit next to the Trinity so it can be destroyed and washed away in the next big spell of rain is what I would call a Bad Idea.  Then, there is the issue about how much petroleum product, fracking material, or such that would get washed down the Trinity.  This seems like an avoidable and foreseeable error.  Then, there is the question of how the petroleum product out of the flood plain.  The pipeline is going to have to cross/penetrate the levies somewhere.  Our levies have been treated like red-headed stepchildren for decades.  I don't want to see them further disrupted.

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(1) True, writing a sentence with both "Dallas gov't" and "wise" rarely makes sense without other words like "not," or "never."




marianagriggs
marianagriggs

If I were the Gas Industry I would be thinking of suing the city for not having a full time Gas Inspector to guide us through the questions that both City Planning Commissioners and Citizens have. Hiring a Gas Inspector is a part of this process and it seems unreasonable to make decisions about any permits before one is hired. Shame on Mary Suhm for not hiring a FULL TIME Gas Inspector to help us deal with these permits. With "so much money" to be had, shouldn't we hire someone to at least help us understand how many millions we stand to make? Again, that's a shameful way to manage a city, maybe we should find a new manager who spends less time plotting to keep "north and south" divided and more time on Sustainable Development.

Thanks for the article, see you Thursday! Come for lunch and stay for the show!

director21
director21

At the December 20, CPC meeting I led off for the citizens' opposition side with a presentation citing section, chapter and verse from the Dallas Development Code that specifically prohibits drilling in floodplains and on city-owned park land. I questioned how the CPC could even vote to approve an activity that is illegal under existing law, and gave the admonition that telling citizens that they have to obey laws, but that government and business is exempt from having to obey laws is a very bad message to send to the general public.


At that time a majority of the CPC members agreed with me and voted to deny the Trinity East SUPs. Now, just three weeks later, CPC Chairman Joe Alcantar, guided by Mayor Mike Rawlings, wants a do-over because the Mayor knows he cannot get 12 Council votes to override a CPC denial, but that he can probably get a simple majority 8 votes to approve the SUPs if the CPC votes to approve them.


This is the sleaziest form of local politics, and citizens need to know that our lying-through-his-teeth Mayor, who promised "I will never vote to put any neighborhoods at risk for money", is pushing his personal agenda because he has a vested financial interest in oil and gas exploration and production. His CPC puppet, Joe Alcantar, is marching in lockstep with the Mayor to disregard the will of citizens and allow an activity that is currently prohibited by city ordinance as delineated in Article V, Section 51A-5.103.1, Article V, Section 51A-5.104 and Article XI, Section 42.3.1E(iii).


Citizens need to get involved NOW and how stop these traitorous acts by our elected and appointed public officials who seek to violate the laws and allow their corporate friends to violate the laws while holding citizens accountable under the law whenever they break it. This is an outrage, and it is a clear demonstration that every single Council member who supports allowing gas drilling in Dallas needs to lose their seat at the horseshoe in the May election.

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

We are all aware that this is eventually be granted, yes? This entire process has gone on simply because the right people haven't gotten their money yet.

LeepTC
LeepTC

I'm angered that we have to re-visit the TRINITY EAST SUP REQUEST for Gas Drilling!

Why?
• The City Ordinance Has Spoken – NO drilling on Parklands or Floodplain areas.


• The City Planning Commission Has Spoken – 12/20/2012 – The vote was NO. (7 to 5)

* The Gas Drilling Task Force Has Spoken.

• The Opposition Has Spoken – Countless Concerned Citizens urged a NO vote. Such issues cited were: water waste and contamination,; environmental toxins; air, water, and sound pollution; health hazards and the list goes on… 

 (NOTE: there was not “1” concerned citizen present in support of the Trinity East SUP.)

While, I understand that Trinity East has the “right” to appeal; however, so many NO’s make me question their respect for Dallas and the residents. Along with the prep/ powerpoints, etc. for this request – there was not “1” mention of meetings with concerned neighbors and citizens in the vicinity of their request. (Some other developers DID bring supporters for their projects. Some other developers DID mention meeting with concerned citizens and neighborhood groups to vet issues.)

There is a basic responsibility of ALL of us to be "good neighbors" within our communities.

It's feeling like TRINITY EAST,  some on DALLAS CITY COUNCIL, and some on the DALLAS PLANNING COMMISSION just don't care about that!

I hope lots of concerned citizens can show up at this meeting on Thursday!

Stand up!

Speak up!

dallasdrilling.wordpress.com
dallasdrilling.wordpress.com

The way that Dallas City Hall has handled this since 2008 and continues to manipulate this from behind the scenes makes Chicago politics look like child's play. From the puppetmistress Suhm, to the lack of leadership from the Mayor in delivering a stronger gas ordinance, this is all a complete failure on their behalf. The politics that are being played behind the scenes is worthy of a movie. With humans being becoming collateral damage. Sad.


http://dallasdrilling.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/children-of-the-scorned/

bmarvel
bmarvel

@roo_ster "I would be a mite cautious about allowing a drilling rig to set up shop across the street." But not so cautious, apparently, about drilling across the street from "folks in poorer neighborhoods." If we bribe them enough. Let me humbly implore you to stop for, say, 15 minutes or so, sit in a quiet room and reconsider the morality of what you've just suggested.

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

@director21 There is a reason the smart folks voted for Chief Kunkle. Good luck with your fight though. Hope you can defeat the big money!

director21
director21

@SuperfuzzBigmuff That depends upon how many concerned citizens we can motivate to get off their butts and become active in our fight. If we get enough backing from the public, then we can continue winning.

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

@darrd2010  Less to do with actual (Dare I use all caps and quotation marks yes I think I will)"   "BACKROOM POLITICS  "and more to do with when do the powers in power want to unveil  the already agreed outcome they already agreed to before the people who have no "REAL SAY got involved  . 

Sorry that you lost in spite of putting on a good effort .

Now you do understand that when it comes to how things are done in Dallas  .

Those in control consider the   Lending an Ear then offering  Lip Service to  your concerns on this issue should be seen as due process .

Now that is over now its time to drill.

roo_ster
roo_ster

@bmarvel In case I was not clear, let me put it this way:

You, bmarvel, are not nearly as able as some junior high school educated blue-collar stiff to determine if the mineral rights check is worth more than the temporary and permanent impact of a gas well on his neighborhood.

To think you are is arrogant, patronizing and belittles the cognitive abilities of poor people.

roo_ster
roo_ster

@bmarvel Why?  So you can try to convince me _you_ know better than the residents of some poor neighborhood what is in _their_ best interests?  Patronizing, some?

Morality would dictate that we allow people the greatest range of action possible.  That we let people make their own decisions and determine their own best interests. 

If City of Dallas gov't can attenuate long-ranging externalities that would go beyond adjacent neighborhoods, let each neighborhood determine if what the petroleum company offers is worth the short-range externalities.  Let the neighborhoods determine if a drilling unit for a short period and a pumping unit indefinitely is worth whatever they are offered.

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"I rather like materialism: The poor need it."
----V. S. Naipaul

director21
director21

@SuperfuzzBigmuff Muff, I have to agree that the smart people voted for David Kunkle. Unfortunately, the dumb people outnumber us, and are more easily swayed by campaign lies.


So far, we have defeated ExxonMobil, and Trinity East, which is a subsidiary of Keystone Energy, is small potatoes compared to ExxonMobil. What we have to defeat is city government that compels citizens to obey laws while disobeying them itself. We are right on the verge of requesting an FBI investigation into the criminal practices at 1500 Marilla Street.

bmarvel
bmarvel

@roo_ster @bmarvel You weren't clear. So let's stipulate: The resident shall be FULLY informed on the present and future effects of said drilling operations not only on property values and saleability of his home, and those of his neighbors, but also all health effects short- and long-term upon him and all members of his household including unborn children. Further, he shall be given a realistic assessment of his chances of buying equivalent housing elsewhere with the money paid to him by the energy company and all mocivng expenses will be fully covered. Finally, such exchange shall not be binding until all his neighbors agree to the same terms. That is, a majority of residents shall not be able to bargain away the rights of those residents who do not wish to sell their rights to the energy company.

Those conditions applied, I have no problem.

director21
director21

@SuperfuzzBigmuff The best way to assure continued success is getting a lot more people involved. Will you come join us this Thursday when we slug it out with the CPC? The meeting is in City Council Chamber at Dallas City Hall, 1500 Marilla Street in downtown Dallas, Sixth Floor, at 1:30 PM, and we need a big group in the audience.


You do not have to address the audience if you do not want to do so. In fact, most do not, but your presence will indicate the concern of citizens and show that we demand they listen to us and act accordingly.

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

@director21 I really hope y'all succeed. I'm hoping with the bottom falling out of natural gas prices on the market the energy companies just give up and stay in Tarrant County, and the longer you draw this out the more likely that becomes.

Best of luck, and I hope you're as successful as the Save Winfrey Point folks were.

director21
director21

@SuperfuzzBigmuff  I appreciate your support and your comments.


For over three years we have been duking it out  at City Hall, and we have been 100% successful so far. The public is becoming more aware of the issues, not the least of which is that there is no profit in natural gas production because the wellhead market price is only about 30% of the breakeven cost to produce the gas. It does not take a math genius to figure out that is a losing proposition, but it takes a true dunce to believe otherwise.


Our "Task Farce" was truly window dressing, but it is the CPC and Council that make decisions by which things are regulated if allowed to happen. Both take public votes following public deliberation, and we are pretty damned deliberate. We have a group of extremely well educated and experienced public speakers who are making incredible sacrifices of time, money and effort to keep telling the truth, and it is working.


After Thursday's CPC "reconsideration" we will know if city government is listening, or if it time to request an FBI inquiry into how citizens are being shut out while industry has free access to our elected and appointed officials. But, we are NOT going away anytime soon!

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

@director21 Hey, I completely support your cause and thank you for your efforts. And your logic is dead on. The issue is how mind-numbing the fracking thing is to most people and the 20+ years of "drill baby, drill" propaganda.

I'm not going to use his name because I didn't ask first and it's too late to call him, but a good friend of mine chairs a neighborhood association next to White Rock that opposed the new boathouse. His remarks to me after it passed were, "It was a done deal from the start. The hearings were just window dressing. We knew that, just wanted to try raise awareness."

My worry is that the fracking ends up the same way.

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