Rawlings and Suhm's Attempt to Spin Secret Gas Deal into Something Innocent Is Hot Air

Categories: Schutze

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Some stuff won't spin. Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm is trying desperately to spin the story of her side-deal with Trinity East Energy. But that story is stuck in the ground like a tree.

The Observer reported yesterday that Suhm signed an agreement five years ago with a gas drilling company to help them get all the approvals they needed to drill on city-owned parkland. At that same moment, she signed a lease guaranteeing the same right. All the while, she and her staff were assuring the City Council and park board that drilling on parkland was and would continue to be prohibited.

She has never returned the Observer's calls and emails to discuss the side-deal. Instead, she called The Dallas Morning News and fed them her spin.

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Our next contestant on Deal or No Deal
The News quoted her as telling them in an email: "To characterize the sequence of events related to the gas drilling lease agreements as a 'back room deal' is inflammatory and inaccurate. The letter is NOT a deal between staff and Trinity East Energy, LLC. In fact, the City Manager could not make such a 'deal' -- that is not the City Manager's authority."

Mayor Mike Rawlings rushed to her defense, characterizing her deal with Trinity as merely a non-binding offer to help a company that was writing a $19 million check to the city.

See also:
- Mary Suhm Signed a Secret Side Deal to Push for Drilling on Parkland as She Told Council It Would Be Banned
- Drilling Opponents: Plan Commish Chair Pushed Commissioners to Support Fracking


In defense of our own coverage, let me say we never called it a back-room deal. It was a front-room deal, kept secret for years. That's the problem.

The deal was officially signed, dated and sealed by Suhm, providing explicit assurances of help, almost like lobbying. It was a deal the drilling company clearly required before it would sign its big check to the city.

The important points about the deal are two: 1) It flew in the face of the clear direction elected officials had given Suhm to keep surface drilling off parkland, as well as her own promises to do so, and 2) Suhm and city attorneys went to great lengths to keep the deal hidden from the public and from the city's elected officials.

The deal only went public yesterday after City Council members Scott Griggs and Angela Hunt got copies of it from the city. The reasons why it finally popped out into the open are still murky. But rumors of the existence of such a deal have circulated since last May.

In a Q-and-A with Unfair Park then, Steve Fort of Trinity East Energy hinted broadly that he had a kind of secret ace-in-the-hole guaranty from top people at City Hall.

"I'm not gonna name names," Fort told us, "because I'd rather not do that."

Now we know why.

The day that story ran on Unfair Park, we hit the city with a very specific and inclusive demand for documents under the Texas Public Information Act. The letter demanded "all documentation of the city's arrangements with Trinity East, the energy company that leased city land for drilling." We went on to demand "all official and unofficial documentation of agreements between the company and the city."

The city responded with a stack of documents that did not include Suhm's side deal.

We weren't alone in this. Fort's hint prompted some letter-hunting by drilling opponents too, but they also came up dry despite what state law requires in terms giving the public access to its own documents. At City Hall, it seems the best way to get a document they don't want to give you is to already have it in your hand before you ask for it ...

Please take a look at the timeline below, which was sent to me yesterday by Hunt. The most obvious takeaway is that Suhm kept her deal secret for years, also keeping the City Council and park board in the dark. But there is an equally important, if more subtle, conclusion to be drawn from Hunt's timeline.

No matter what the mayor and city manager may say now to spin and minimize Suhm's side-deal with Trinity East, the side-deal was crucially important to Trinity East and to its decision to write the city a $19 million check. This impression is corroborated by what Trinity East's hired City Hall consultant, Dallas Cothrum, told me yesterday.

Rawlings and Suhm now want to emphasize the non-binding nature of the agreement. The deal letter itself did contain wiggle words to the effect that Suhm "can make no guarantees."

But there were no wiggle words in the check. If Suhm wasn't sure she could deliver the right to drill on park land, all she had to do was to wait to cash the check. In Trinity East's view now, once Suhm took their $19 million check, cashed it and spent the money, the deal was a deal.

Rawlings told the News yesterday his motivation in defending Suhm had less to do with any belief that her deal was a good one than his fear that Trinity East would now sue the city if Suhm failed to come through on it. Cothrum told me yesterday he believed that was exactly what was about to happen. So at the very least, both sides seem to agree Suhm's side-deal was important enough to place the city in a very tight spot.

Yesterday here on the blog and in a raucous City Hall hearing before the plan commission, the Suhm side-deal was called all sorts of bad things by partisans in the debate over gas drilling on city parkland. In a way, both Rawlings and his own most fierce critics wound up sort of agreeing that the side-deal was non-binding, Rawlings because he said it contained wiggle words, the critics because they said it was an illegal deal in the first place.

Then Suhm tossed in her own odd wrinkle in her spin for the Morning News by pointing out that she doesn't have the authority to make such a deal.

The problem with that argument is that she made the deal. She and city lawyers kept it under wraps for years. But now we have the deal letter, signed by her and by Fort of Trinity East.

And yet the story persists that the deal was not a deal. If you look at the end of Hunt's timeline below, you will find at the bottom an especially curious document, an amendment to Trinity East's lease with the city, signed by the city and company officials on July 18, 2011. The amendment states explicitly that the City Council "must approve oil and gas drilling on parkland" and that "this authorization is a police power that cannot be contracted away." That's courthouse language meaning the city manager can't contract to do something that defies the City Council.

The amendment suggests that somebody at City Hall knew Suhm's side-deal was a problem. Who could that have been? Could it have been the same City Hall lawyers who hid the deal?

The amendment, by the way, does not directly reference the side-deal, which was still a secret at the time, nor does it really withdraw the deal. If anything, it reads more like a cover story for the lawyers who negotiated the city's lease with Trinity East, showing they were not in on any illegal attempts to contract away the powers of the City Council.

But there is something plainer and more important here: common sense and common decency.

Cothrum is Trinity East's zoning consultant, not their lawyer. He went to some lengths to tell me he had not discussed litigation with his client, but he nevertheless made what I thought was the most important point of the day:

"They [Trinity East] got a letter from the leader of that place [City Hall]," he said, "and now all they are asking for is the benefit of that bargain."

Think about it. Look again at Hunt's timeline, this time toward the top. In 2008, the minute the council voted to do gas drilling, City Hall signed a deal with Exxon. But it took six more months to get a deal inked with Trinity East, a relatively small independent company. Trinity East only signed its deal and wrote its check on the day Suhm inked her promise.


If these guys go into court, they don't have to be political science majors, Sherlock Holmes or Kevin Spacey in House of Cards. All they have to do is be oil and gas guys who wrote a check for $19 million based on promises from a person they took to be the city's CEO. The more the city does before then and now to defend and harden Suhm's position as CEO, the better their story becomes when they present it to 12 jurors.

Hunt Timeline by


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54 comments
joecook
joecook

Did the drilling plan go to Mike Rawlings when he was head of the Park board? Was the park land included in the plan?

charliepberry
charliepberry

Thank God Dallas has at least one protector in Jim Schutze. These city managers who think they are above the law and honest decency need to be exposed and elected leaders who protect them need to be impeached. Too bad MCKINNEY doesn't have their own Jim Schutze... The inside deals and corruption going on up there are really out of control.  Just ask Day, Brooks, Loughmiller or Gray. Someone needs to audit their books and personal bank accounts before it is too late. Good luck attempting to get anything through the Public information act... They refuse to release anything even by court order. True.

Dallasmedia
Dallasmedia

HEY!!! LOOK OVER HERE!!! THE HILL FAMILY IS BACK IN THE NEWS!!! 

BettyC1
BettyC1

As new member of City Plan Commission and third time serving not one Member of Commission has said anything about how I feel about case. I think Opponents are out of order calling Commissioners out of their names.I also wonder why Opponents only oppose gas being emitted in North Dallas. 

BettyC1
BettyC1

Former Mayor Tom Leppert started this mess with trying to steal as much money to balance city budget as he could.Tried to take 45 million from DFW I and Board members fought him. Suhm did what he told her so she got 33 million from a Gas Company knowing there was no way to drill for gas with present ordinance. What makes it so bad is they sued this money five years ago and this Company is on hold but their money is gone.Who wants to do business when the City Hall can hijack you with paper signed by Top City Official signature? Leppert even had Rawling's change the way DFW Board members are chosen for board appointment after 35 years because Board dared to challenge him vs. following Federal Law. What surprise me was  Rawling  followed Leppert side of the story and not speaking with other members of Board. I hope Rawling will soon find out his friend Leppert was not always on the correct side of an issue and that he did indeed do any thing possible to have his way in issues even if they  could not pass smell or legal test.

PIMPBELO
PIMPBELO

@director21 I don't have any children, but thanks for worrying about them. You also don't understand sarcasm. Further, you don't understand how to make a rational case against drilling and local politics without sounding like a manifesto lunatic. 

Here are some tips. Don't toss around words like "atomic bomb" and "bloody murder." Don't toss out numbers that mean nothing like 25-28%. Calm down and talk rationally. 

Or take the...

KAPLAN POST-GRAD BLOG LESSON CLASS   

gordonhilgers
gordonhilgers

All across the country, citizens are up in arms over fracking, but the damned frackers won't stop.  Until they actually come clean and reveal to us what kind of dastardly chemicals they're pumping into the earth and potentially into the water table, I think it is only prudent that the City of Dallas refrain from dealing with them. 

As for Suhm, follow the money.  She's a greedhead, has always been a greedhead, won't stop being a greedhead, and you know, money is what this is all about.  I just can't wait (can you?) for the day White Rock Lake is surrounded by clanking, creaking metal monstrosities that are making millions for shallow, superficial people who never grew up enough to realize that money is shit. 

PIMPBELO
PIMPBELO

OK. Maybe this story will catch on and lead to some investigation or public outrage. Except it's too complicated: bunch of memos I gotta read, legalese, timelines. Plus it's Friday, so nobody cares and people will forget about it over the weekend. 

drtz
drtz

Can the city really be held liable for not fulfilling a contract that requires breaking the law to fulfill?  Somehow I doubt it and there's undoubtedly legal precedent for this.

WCGasette
WCGasette

So, who was the Mayor at the time? That's an important question, too, because last I heard a city manager's job depends upon keeping everybody happy.

James080
James080

I wonder who was serving as the city of Dallas officer for public information when the original TPIA requests were made for this agreement four years ago? That officer withheld an "unprivileged" document, there should be repercussions. Otherwise the city will continue playing hide the salami when they want to misrepresent their actions to the public. A complaint can be filed with the Dallas County DA or the Texas AG. Does anyone seriously believe Craig Watkins would pass up a chance for a press conference.

Sec. 552.353.  FAILURE OR REFUSAL OF OFFICER FOR PUBLIC INFORMATION TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO OR COPYING OF PUBLIC INFORMATION.

(a) An officer for public information, or the officer's agent, commits an offense if, with criminal negligence, the officer or the officer's agent fails or refuses to give access to, or to permit or provide copying of, public information to a requestor as provided by this chapter.

..............

(e)  An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by:

(1)  a fine of not more than $1,000;

(2)  confinement in the county jail for not more than six months; or

(3)  both the fine and confinement.

(f)  A violation under this section constitutes official misconduct.

director21
director21

T minus ? The question is how long before the mayor, the city manager and the city attorney resign "to spend more time with their families" because they have now been caught in outright lies, deceptions and criminal acts that are violations of their fiduciary responsibilities to protect the best interest of Dallas citizens.


A few of us have worked diligently on these matters for a very long time on behalf of all Dallas citizens, and I sincerely hope our efforts are appreciated. Everybody says they oppose official corruption and want to clean up government. NOW is the time and THIS is your opportunity to actually do more than talk about it by getting on board and supporting us in this fight. We have to demand accountability from our city officials, and there can be no better reason to do so that what we are now learning about their criminal and corrupt deal-making that threatens to harm citizens, our environment, property values and our quality of life.

Ron Schulz
Ron Schulz

Hey if they had not gotten caught it would of been fine !!! LOL

TXsharon
TXsharon

Dallas is the Promised Land reality show! 

Bremarks
Bremarks

It really doesn't matter that Suhm and the Mayor now say that the letter can't be binding because such a side deal can't be made anyway.  What matters is Trinity East's expectations.  The legal term is detrimental reliance.  The city attorney should now be deep diving into the City's legal immunity to see if this pierces it.  If it does, it will cost us at least $19 large ones.

Blake Wilson
Blake Wilson

This is all a simple misunderstanding. Mayor Rawlings thought he heard "drill for oil at Parkland" and thought they meant the hospital. So he's all like "yeah, lets bulldoze that beyatch".

director21
director21

@BettyC1 Betty, we aggressively fought to keep gas wells from being drilled in West Oak Cliff more than two years before the fight over Northwest Dallas began. We oppose ALL urban drilling regardless of where it occurs because we do not believe such activities are appropriate in heavily populated areas - period!

Some of us have fought this battle for over three years, and we are very sure of our claims. Whenever Commissioners vote to approve something that is specifically prohibited by existing ordinances, then those Commissioners deserve to be called out, by name, for voting to violate the law. Do you disagree?

mcdallas
mcdallas

@BettyC1 I am Mountain Creek Dallas (MCDallas).  I can say with all certainty that "opponents" have surely been working hard to defend Mountain Creek.  

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

@BettyC1 Might have something to do with the whole pumping toxic chemicals into the water table, and then putting drills in parkland or a damn flood plain.

What happens to those chemicals when it floods, like it does every year? They end up in the river.

schermbeck
schermbeck

@BettyC1 We don't. We worked hard against West Dallas sites that were right in the middle of neighborhoods, as well as Mountain Creek sites along the escarpment. Trinity East is the last of the bad old lease sites. Those need to be be rejected as terminally tainted by the City Manager's mischief and the Council should write a more protective gas drilling ordinance. As a former CPC Chair, I don't see how you can agree with the way things have been run at the Commission when it comes to this matter. As someone who's fought for social justice, I know you understand the importance of fighting back against abuse of power.

heart_and_soul
heart_and_soul

@BettyC1 Oh Betty, no one asked because everyone already knows. The drilling crowd is looking for another vote on the CPC and you were appointed to be that vote. If there was even a chance of you doing the right thing on this issue my guess is that Mary would have found a way to hold your appointment instead of fast tracking it before the final vote. In fact, trying to get you in on the vote is probably what all the delays are about.

Patrick Williams (BUZZ) is right. The fix is in and my guess is you are all to happy to help if there is some angle in it for you.

And BTW. everyone also knows that you were Leppert's best buddy and firmly behind every slimy thing he did until he screwed you. So how about you cut the crap and the phony outrage.



zactrahan
zactrahan

@BettyC1 Hold on, the Mountain Creek drilling applications weren't in North Dallas, and people worked just as hard on them.

WylieH
WylieH

@BettyC1 Ms. Culbreath, I frequently disagree with you, but always respect your honesty and integrity.  You called it perfectly on Leppert... I was having lunch with a senior local politician the other day, and we both remarked about what an "interesting" character Leppert was--- I think he might be a sociopath.

He seemed to be one of those rare individuals who, as you correctly observed, would say or do anything to get what he wanted, seemingly without feeling anything at all.  At times, I found him to be a bit "scary," simply because he seemed to have absolutely no moral center.

director21
director21

@PIMPBELO Obviously, facts are beyond your comprehension. I stand firmly behind everything I said, and my numbers are valid. If you have sufficient math skills, then you can do the math for yourself.

director21
director21

@PIMPBELO Unfortunately, society is full of people like you who lack the intellectual curiosity to learn the truth and facts, and then get involved to make a positive difference. Yet, people like you are the first ones screaming "Bloody murder!" when you or your kids are sick and dying from exposure to something that you refused to acknowledge and do anything about.


Thanks for nothing!

director21
director21

@drtz For three years several of us have been saying that there was NEVER a quid pro quo that Trinity East would be allowed to drill. They signed a land lease for 36 months and paid their land lease fees. They were given an additional 30 months at no additional charge even though their lease specifically stated that they would be obligated to again pay the bonus money per acre before the lease would be extended.


The reasons why they will not sue are because (1) they have no legal basis for a lawsuit, and (2) if they sue and lose, then they vaporize their ability to threaten to sue Dallas, or any other city, every again when they don't get their way.


The threat of lawsuits is like an atomic weapon - you can threaten and bluff with it, but the consequences of actually using it are just too disastrous for all involved. Trinity East execs and attorneys are greedy, lying, low-life scumbags, but they are not stupid. (Well, okay, paying $19 Million for land on which to drill for gas in Dallas may well qualify as stupidity.)

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@drtz

Yeah, but the city's defense in everything always winds up being that nobody's really in charge and the buck stops nowhere and what was it you asked again? That works for gypsies sometimes, but does it really cover you for nineteen million bucks?

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@WCGasette

More specifically, Tom Leppert, who wanted to run for the US Senate as a tea party guy, no new taxes, at a time when the city was running a deficit, who had famous disregard for the truth where it got I the way of his own ambitions and a long history of squeezing subordinates for the last drop of blood.

director21
director21

@Bremarks Probably not. It is kinda hard to claim in court that you thought you had a deal to drill when you signed leases and filed SUP applications that specifically stipulated that drilling on park land and in floodplains is strictly prohibited unless and until the City Council amends existing ordinances to remove those prohibitions.


There was never a promise or guarantee that any such amendments would be made, and Mary Suhm is now making that point painfully clear much to the chagrin of Trinity East and Masterplan Consultants.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

@Bremarks

Quantum meruit; quasi contract. I don't know if the oil company attorney was very ignorant and extremely lucky, or very, very clever. Any way you look at it Suhm sure looks like she was way out of bounds. This will not be cheap.

mcdallas
mcdallas

@JimSX Bwahahaha.  "works for gypsies sometimes".  That is an insensitive cultural attack.  And I love it.

What drtz is forgetting is that this kinda thing works for City Hall ALL the time.  The only difference is that because this particular whole thing involves lawyers, it COULD end up with Suhm being in hot water legally, possibly to the point of her departing Dallas.  

Nah, she'll "gypsy" her way out of it somehow...

WCGasette
WCGasette

@JimSX So, where is his part in this? Where is he, anyway??  Didn't he leave office about the time all of this was starting to boil? Seems it would have hurt his chances for bigger office and he surely must have known about this "secret" deal.

WCGasette
WCGasette

@darrd2010 @WCGasette  I couldn't remember how to spell his unusual name. Thank you. Just wondering how that might have been a part of all of this since don't see it being mentioned. He was likely a drill, baby, drill kind of Mayor as so many are in N TX.

mcdallas
mcdallas

@darrd2010 @James080 GRIGGS IS A FRICKIN' GENIUS.  Too bad he won't be representing Mountain Creek anymore b/c of redistricting...

James080
James080

@darrd2010@James080 

Jim wrote that their request demanded "all documentation of the city's arrangements with Trinity East, the energy company that leased city land for drilling." "......all official and unofficial documentation of agreements between the company and the city."

I would file a complain and let the DA or Grand Jury decide if the city's TPIA officer acted with criminal negligence in withholding the document. 

director21
director21

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul @Bremarks A court of law will only award proven losses, not etherial losses than cannot be substantiated. Since nobody has EVER made a penny drilling for gas or oil in Dallas there is no basis for assuming that any losses of potential profits would exist. Trinity East does not get to just make up a number out of whole cloth and then claim it as a loss.

Further, the very fact that the leases they signed stipulated that drilling would NOT be allowed on park land or in the floodplain will probably undermine any claim they make as to recovery of the original bonus money of $19 Million. Those leases are legal documents and they will take precedent over a non-binding letter that they, themselves, acknowledge, is non-binding.

I say, let them sue! We'll see them in court! And, the city will prevail. Now, they MAY be able to make a viable claim against Mary Suhm and others as individuals, but the City of Dallas will not be liable for that regardless of how much you wish it is.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@director21@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul@Bremarks 

Wow!, thanks for confirming why I don't like to participate in these discussions.


I am certainly not defending Trinity East in this situation.  In fact I am livid about what the City has done.


If anything, the majority of your remarks support what I have said.  If anything, I have tried to provide factual information.


I wonder if you are simply against any mineral development in the City of Dallas, or just against development in this particular location.


When I said:

"I wonder if I can sue the City of Dallas for failing to properly develop a city asset, namely the fee mineral estate, and as a result I have a loss of enjoyment of park lands and other city amenities that would have been improved as a result of this revenue stream."

 Let me help you out a little bit:

SARCASM WILL ROBINSON SARCASM

As far as the economic viability of the project, I prefer to leave that to the person willing to risk the capital to develop the resource.  You are certainly more than welcome to proffer your opinion on the economics.


I am glad that we are in agreement that the ban on surface use of parkland for a drillsite exists and can only be changed by ordinance.


As regards the parkland obtained with TPW funds, it is clear that this surface fee can only be used for parkland.  That was a clear stipulation of the grant.  If the mineral fee is developed for this particular parcel, all proceeds from the mineral development must be used to better this particular parcel as parkland AND NO OTHER PURPOSE!


For enlightening me as well as the others here, would you please provide us some detail on the damage you claim from oil and gas development in Grand Prairie.  If your claims are true, then the City of Dallas certainly needs to consider this.  In fact, there have been several times that I have advised mineral owners that they should not execute a lease due to the likelihood that they may have an overall net loss when the impact to the surface fee is considered.


One last comment, as a person with many years in the oil and gas industry, I would be reticent as an operator to touch this deal with a ten foot pole.


As far as Mr. Pickens is concerned, he has been wrong before.

director21
director21

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul@director21@Bremarks

Thanks for letting the cat out of the bag that you are an oil and gas man, because it is highly unlikely that you would know how to discuss these points in the great detail you did, and defend them from the perspective of industry, unless you are in that industry or associated directly with it in some form or another. I am going to take your points one by one and refute them because you are attempting to cloud the issue with what I like to call the "if you can't dazzle 'em with brillance, then baffle 'em with bullshit" theory.


"Hmmmm ... might want to check out tort law on oil and gas ... I wonder if I can sue the City of Dallas for failing to properly develop a city asset, namely the fee mineral estate, and as a result I have a loss of enjoyment of park lands and other city amenities that would have been improved as a result of this revenue stream."

You can certainly TRY to sue the city, but how are you ever going to prove how you were harmed? By what measure can you assess your "loss of enjoyment?" Nobody has EVER stated that Dallas would get X amount of money from drilling - it is stated merely as 25% of the royalty income, and since gas is currently selling at $2.59 (today's price) per mcf, which is about 28-32% of its breakeven production cost there is no revenue stream that would come to the city under any circumstances. It is not even likely anybody would produce gas at that price since there is already a substantial glut in the marketplace. If nobody is producing, then are no revenues forthcoming, and thus no loss of revenues that would have otherwise added to your enjoyment of our parks. But, you are free to spend your money to try making that case in a court of law. Just let me know when you do because I want to get a bunch of freinds to come down and watch you.

"I'd be careful about saying that no one ever made any money drilling for oil and gas in Dallas County." I made no such statement. T. Boone Pickens said what I cited in relation to the CITY of Dallas. Do you question an oil and gas man of Pickens' stature on these matters?

"RRC records show that a total of 24,171,365 MCF of gas were produced in Dallas County from 1/2010 to 11/2012."

The VAST majority of that Dallas County gas was in Grand Prairie, which is much nearer the heart of the Barnett than the City of Dallas. Since we are throwing some numbers around try these on for size. In 2011, Grand Prairie received a whopping $132,000 in royalty income from 96 producing wells. The GP production was probably 98%+ of ALL gas produced in Dallas County. It does not even begin to pay for damages to roads, streets and bridges, parks, water destruction or myriad other costs that would be visited upon a city where drilling is allowed, so there would be less than nothing left for investing in park improvements.

"Also please go back and read carefully the highlighted section of Page 32 of the "Hunt Timeline". While it is true that the City currently has an ordinance against surface drillsites in parkland or floodplain, the City as a chartered city does have the ability to change that prohibition. This change would have to be at least done by an ordinance passed by the City Council. I don't believe that it can be done solely by an SUP."

Not only can an ordinance NOT be changed solely by an SUP, it cannot be change AT ALL by an SUP. ONLY an amendment passed by the City Council can alter an ordinance. The ordinances in effect in 2008, and which are still in effect today, specifically prohibit drilling in floodplains (Article V, Section 51A-5.103.1 and Article V, Section 51A-5.104) and on city-owned park land (Article XI, Section 42,3.1E(iii).) Those matters are about to come up before the City Council very shortly, and are going to be hotly debated. But, there is also the little matter of complying with Texas Parks and Wildlife Code which stipulates conditions upon which park land can be converted to industrial or commercial use, and one of those stipulations states a requirement that would require a finding that "there is no feasible and prudent alternative" to using the park surface as a drill site. Since horizontal laterals have been successfully drilled and frac'ed up to five miles away from a well bore the argument that it is not "feasible and prudent" to drill anywhere except on the park surface is going to be very difficult to impossible to prove up in court. But, again, you are certainly welcome to try. That is why we have courts. How much are you willing to spend and risk on the court siding with you?

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@director21 @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul @Bremarks  

Hmmmm ... might want to check out tort law on oil and gas ...

I wonder if I can sue the City of Dallas for failing to properly develop a city asset, namely the fee mineral estate, and as a result I have a loss of enjoyment of park lands and other city amenities that would have been improved as a result of this revenue stream.

What I do find interesting is that Trinity East was doing a 1031 exchange which may explain why they stuck with the deal rather than walking as XTO did.

I will not be surprised that XTO walking will cost us dearly in the future.

I'd be careful about saying that no one ever made any money drilling for oil and gas in Dallas County.  RRC records show that a total of 24,171,365 MCF of gas were produced in Dallas County from 1/2010 to 11/2012.  This is an average of 35 MMCFD.  The peak month of 5/2011produced 1.236 BCF of gas or an average of  almost 40 MMCFD.


Granted this pales in comparison to Tarrant County where 2,159,221,564 MCF of gas was produced in the same time period.  This is an average of 3,129 MMCFD.

Also please go back and read carefully the highlighted section of Page 32 of the "Hunt Timeline".  While it is true that the City currently has an ordinance against surface drillsites in parkland or floodplain, the City as a chartered city does have the ability to change that prohibition.  This change would have to be at least done by an ordinance passed by the City Council.  I don't believe that it can be done solely by an SUP.

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