Dallas Council Passes Tough New Fracking Rules Industry Calls a "Moratorium" on Dallas Drilling

Categories: Environment

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MyEyeSees
Other cities sitting on the Barnett Shale are popular among the natural gas industry for quickly handing over their land to be fracked. But Dallas has turned out to be a surprisingly tough conquest. On Wednesday afternoon, the Dallas City Council finally passed its long-awaited fracking ordinance, and the regulations are more restrictive than those of any other city in the Barnett region.

City officials have been deeply divided on fracking, and Mayor Mike Rawlings has always fallen somewhere in the middle, doing some hippie stuff like co-sponsoring a "Gasland" screening in 2011, but then scaring environmental groups in August when he urged the City Council to approve drilling permits for Trinity East to avoid getting sued by the company. (The City Council rejected the permits anyway).

On Wednesday, the mayor went with the anti-drilling council members, joining them in a 9-6 vote to approve an ordinance that requires 1,500-foot buffer zone between drilling and homes.

The natural gas industry is not taking the news well. They say that a 1,500-foot-setback is as good as not drilling at all.

"Everyone said all along that it would basically be a moratorium on drilling in Dallas, and that's pretty much what it is," said Ed Ireland, the Executive Director of the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council, an industry trade group founded by eight energy companies that have been leading drilling in the Barnett region.

Despite his leadership role on the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council, Ireland was not feeling very educational. Asked by us who he worked for, all he had to say was "no." Another man in a suit next to him said that Dallas' ordinance may cost the city big time in lawsuits. Dallas, the man said, "is making it impossible for operators to drill wells." Asked for his name, he also declined, explaining that "I'm not very fond of your publication."

While the drilling crowd was clearly feeling shy, environmental groups are enjoying a rare public victory. "There's a brand new feeling that environmentalists actually have some clout in city politics in Dallas for the first time," writes Downwinders at Risk's Jim Schermbeck.

The ordinance still allows the council to reduce the setback in certain situations. But even that may be difficult to do. With the bill's passage, the Council also approved a motion by Councilman Scott Griggs that requires a two-thirds majority to narrow that setback.


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26 comments
Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

We don't need earthquakes in Dallas.


Fucking sub-woofers are bad enough.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Has anyone seen the Mayor and the DMN Ed Board in the room at the same time?


Could be the same person.  Both seem to be on all sides of an issue all the time.


When they hit that fork in the road . . . they take it.

mcdallas
mcdallas

Did his name start with a "C" and rhyme with Kothrum?

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

I think this is a good common sense measure.  Hell they made that poor guy in East Dallas (was it in Junius) rip up his native plants and rock landscaping because it didn't match the rest of the neighborhood.  How the hell is a drilling rig going to match any neighborhood in Dallas?


One of the big selling points from the industry side of things was that fracking would produce cheap domestic natural gas which, by extension, should lead to lower electric rates.  Somehow I'm not seeing this effect.  Instead, we have become great exporters of natural gas and the electric industry is warning of rolling brownouts and having to shut down plants.  To hell with both of them.  I'm not an Ecofreak by any stretch of the imagination, but three cheers for Wind and Solar!!!

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

Big Gas can go suck on a wellhead. You, too, Tommy Lee Jones.

casiepierce
casiepierce

I don't understand. If the city is making it "impossible for operators to drill wells", how exactly does that result in lawsuits? Do these companies have some ownership or right to the gas?

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

So, we hate the oil industry more than we love having working traffic lights and repaired potholes.

schermbeck
schermbeck

The setback range is actually a 1500 foot maximum and a 1000 foot minimum. You can't locate a well closer than 1000 feet to a home in Dallas no matter what. Thanks to the DO for publishing the Suhm-Trinity East agreement in February, which framed not only the fight over those particular permits, but this entire conflagration. 

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

So what kind of Steve Urkle ( DID WE DO THAT) Provision has been written into the ordinance that is going to allow all kinds of drilling everywhere ?......If they ask nicely ?

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

What are you, stupid?

Of course they do.

This is TEXAS goddammit.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

If you want potholes invite gas drilling trucks into the city.


fracquestions
fracquestions

@everlastingphelps So Phelps, are you a happy camper today? We do not hate the oil industry, but we do believe it should stick to doing its work in remote places where there is little or no population. Our health and safety, quality of life and property values trump your desire to make money.


We won. You lost. Time to move on.

schermbeck
schermbeck

I think some of us just hate making people sick on behalf of someone else's trust fund.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

Shoulda got Darth Cheney to snarl into the camera about how good destroying the environment is, then cut back to see him swing his shotgun around and take out a few of the camera crew.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@fracquestions @everlastingphelps It's not about me making money.  I'll do just fine.  It's about civilization.  Everything we enjoy -- technology, medicine, cheap nutritious food -- all of it depends vitally on efficient energy.  Fracking is part of that.  Fracking makes society work.  


The world has moved on, and it has left luddites like you and the city council behind.  


You lost.  The city is losing, and will soon join the ranks of Detroit and Chicago and all the other cities that cut off their own noses to spite "big business".

pak152
pak152

the sad part is that Dallas loses by listening to people who are opposed to a technology that has been in place for over 60 years as well as losing out on the royalty payments that would accrue to the city.

the council ignore facts and listened to a howling mad mob

westexasguy
westexasguy

@dallasdrilling.wordpress.com

Hey SFB ( **** for Brains) oil was much dirtier back in the 20's 30'&50's. Once you enjoy to getting up in the middle of the night and flipping a switch on when you take a piss, you never go back to pissing in the dark.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@dallasdrilling.wordpress.com The wheels on your car are made from synthetic rubber compounds, derived from petrolium.  The lightbulb has a plastic base from petrolium.  The bulb and the wheel plant both run on electricity generated from natural gas.  The medicines, the bottles they come in, the doctors office where they are prescribed, and the truck they are delivered on all depend on fossil fuels.


SO YOU ARE GODDAMNED RIGHT.  WITHOUT OIL WE ARE NOT ABLE TO FUNCTION AS 21ST CENTURY PEOPLE.


You love the fucking 18th century, with the mortality rates and life spans?  Then fucking shoot yourself at 40 after a lifetime of hunting whales, asshole.

dallasdrilling.wordpress.com
dallasdrilling.wordpress.com

You'd think that we didn't have a wheel, light bulb, or medicine before fracking invaded the inner city/urban areas. It was once out in the sticks and then it was directional only up until the early 2000's. So tell me again how you about how we've been able to function up until then? Yeah......  I thought so.

James_the_P3
James_the_P3

I happen to love oil and gas companies.  I just prefer they put their headquarters in Dallas and their wells in Irving, rather than the other way around.

fracquestions
fracquestions

@pak152


What a pak of lies! High volume, slickwater, horizontal hydraulic fracturing has NOT been going on for 60 years, and you know it. It has been going on for a little over a decade. It was developed by George Mitchell right here in the Barnett Shale, and it is vastly different from when drillers pumped 50,000 gallons of water and sand into a vertical well bore to frac it.


There are NO royalties to be paid. Gas sells for about one third its production cost. It is losing money right and left, which is why most of the drilling rigs have abandoned gas production and moved to oil production (we have NO oil in Dallas, either!) in the Eagle Ford or Bakken Shale areas of South Texas and Nort Dakota, respectively.


The Council listened to facts, as well as industry propaganda and lies, then decided to go with the facts. It is now a done deal, and there is nothing you can do about it other than cry.


Got any more bullshit you want to spread around?

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