Denton Didn't Ban Fracking Last Night, but Voters Will Get a Chance to in November

Categories: Environment

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Crystal Hollis
Frack Free Denton getting signatures at the UNT campus.
After listening to testimony from hundreds of speakers stretching past 2 a.m. this morning, the Denton City Council ultimately voted not to ban fracking, instead sending a petition asking for a ban to voters. But while most on City Council were hesitant about passing an all-out ban -- it was defeated 5-2 -- some expressed frustration with the way the industry has been operating locally.

"We've talked with them, we've talked with them to elicit help in our ongoing problems because cannot enforce it," Mayor Chris Watts said, speaking about the city's fracking ordinance. "If we had an enforceable setback, we all wouldn't be here until 2:35 in the morning."

Denton amended its drilling ordinance last year to keep drilling operations a full 1,200 feet away from houses. Yet last fall, residents in the Vintage and and Meadows at Hickory Creek neighborhoods noticed "vibrations, noise and glare" within 600 feet of their homes, seemingly in violation of the city's laws. The culprit was EagleRidge, a Dallas-based natural gas company.

EagleRidge had mineral rights in the area before the homes were built, and argued that it had the right to work that close to homes since it was re-drilling old wells. So the City of Denton took the company to court. A judge subsequently denied the city's request for a restraining order, and the city dropped the lawsuit and allowed EagleRidge to keep working on those contested sites.

In March, residents from 26 different properties in the neighborhoods filed their own lawsuit against EagleRidge for its "loud and constant" fracking. That same group also spearheaded the petition for a ban.

"We wouldn't be here at this time if we didn't have an operator basically just totally ignoring reasonableness, cooperation, collaboration and re-drilling within 187 feet of a residential neighborhood," Mayor Watts went on last night. He compared the industry to a drug addict, not willing to negotiate with the city until they hit "rock bottom" with the threat of an all-out fracking ban. "We're not trying to manipulate anybody into helping us, we just want help," he added.

But Watts ultimately joined four others voting for a motion rejecting the anti-fracking petition. Councilman Kevin Roden, one of the more vocal industry critics, had earlier introduced a motion to pass the ban, but it got no seconds. Roden expressed concern that industry money would corrupt an election vote. The issue will be on the November ballot.


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100 comments
Schultzy
Schultzy

This isn't a black and white issue. The process of hydraulic fracturing, from the geology underground and drilling techniques, to the potential environmental hazards and affects to the quality of life around a well are all extremely complex. Our economy in this state, and in this country, is hugely supported by the oil and gas industry; to say that all fracking should be banned just is not going to happen. And on the other side, the industry needs to acknowledge the fact that a large portion of the population sees fracking in a negative light, and they need to actively address this. They can't just outspend the opposition and try to disprove compelling evidence.  And people bothways certainly have to stop with the disrespectful talk of those who disagree with them. That gets this discussion nowhere. Of course their are going to be people who disagree with you. Handle it like an adult. Or we'll be stuck with this "us vs. them" mentality with our neighbors for a long time.

schultzy @  http://www.greatbasinindustrial.com/

markie19
markie19 topcommenter

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MikeO
MikeO

I want to mention that I'm not a fan of big oil, but I am a realist. And we are dependent on fossil fuels, no doubt. A necessary evil.

And if any of you want to consider yourself "enviromentalists" maybe you should think about how your subdivisions have pushed out the poor coyotes and bob cats! I'm sure that if they had a vote, they would like to get your butts out of their neighborhood!

pak152
pak152

Great video of the technology that is driving our energy bonanza: Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling
http://bit.ly/1r4ZkHn

pak152
pak152

Amy before writing anymore about fracking, etc. consider picking up a copy of

The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World by Russell Gold

Simon & Schuster (2014), Hardcover, 384 pages

also if you want to learn some history about oil and gas here in Texas pick up this book

The last boom by James Anthony Clark

Other authors: Michel Thomas Halbouty

If you can't get the DO to pay for them you can check them out of the public library

MikeO
MikeO

And I agree with the unfortunately titled IgnorantLibtards. If you don't even know the difference between drilling (which can be loud and constant) and fracking, why are you trying to ban it?

MikeO
MikeO

Thank God Denton did not embarass itself! Fracking the Barnet Shale has been a Godsend to this country! If it wasn't for that, the stock market would not be around 17,000 and we would all be paying $6 for a gallon of gas. It literally saved this country.

For the idjits out there: oil companies set up drilling derricks, they drill the hole in the ground, then they bring in tanks and pumps and pump fluid into the formation deep in the ground to crack the rocks so the oil and gas will flow easier. The tanks and pumps go away and the well starts producing. There is no such thing as "constant fracking" unless they are talking about going from well to well.

I'm not against regulating fracking, and I'm sure that tricky rick has virtually no retraints on things, because that is his deal, but banning the process altogether is just out and out ridiculous!

People, go search for pictures of Kilgore, TX, during the height of the East Texas oil boom. Kilgore seems to still be a thriving town, so I'm fairly sure the citizens of Denton will be okay.

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

In the real world...not that most readers live in it......more water is used on watering lawns than fracking in Texas.

Libtard
Libtard

@MikeO  Very curious as to why you are so emotionally invested in the comments section.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@MikeO ... so Nuke Power Plants are also a "necessary evil" ... and you don't mind them building one in your neighborhood ... property rights and all.



banepage
banepage

@MikeO we kill them as fast as we can out here in the subs...just dont tell anyone.

andypandy
andypandy

@pak152 


I think if EagleRidge was using some of that sweet technology and utilizing horizontal drilling so as not to disturb people living less that 200 feet away Denton would have never gotten to the point of discussing the ban of fracking. 


People need to realize that their surface estate rights are subservient to the mineral rights they "leased" which means gas companies have little reason to treat you with respect or care about your quiet enjoyment of the property.  Oil and gas companies should realize that when systematically screwing over communities some communities will fight back.





ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@MikeO 

Because it is eeeeevil, stops cows from giving milk, chickens laying eggs and gives some people something to do.  hth

DaveW
DaveW

@MikeO (1) If kilgore is your definition of "thriving", then i think that's a different larger conversation.

But more importantly, (2) you've drawn a parallel between the cost of car gasoline created through petroleum refining and natural gas, a separate product -- noting that gas would be 6 dollars a gallon if not for fracking.

Can you explain that point a little further?   I dont see the connection of how fracking for one product would cause a price decrease in another

schermbeck
schermbeck

@MikeO Except for the compressors that run 24/7 and the storage tanks leaking and flaring 24/7 and the pipelines and flanges leaking 24/7. And with the depths and lengths and explosive power that must be used, we're a long way from Kilgore.

Guesty
Guesty

@Sharon_Moreanus How much water is permanently taken out of the eco-system by watering lawns?  How much water is permanently taken out of the eco-system by fracing?

pak152
pak152

@andypandy I would suspect that EagleRidge is using that technology since they are drilling in the Barnett Shale. the advantage of horizontal drilling is that the companies can drill mulitiple wells from a single drill site, other wise there would be even more drill sites if not for horizontal drilling.

of course the folks who bought the houses should have checked to make sure that they owned the mineral rights and not someone else.

this article has some good visuals about horizontal drilling vs vertical drilling
http://www.wvsoro.org/resources/marcellus/horiz_drilling.html


as does this article
http://geology.com/articles/horizontal-drilling/

MikeO
MikeO

Well, some Denton "urbanite" certainly has issues with a small town like Kilgore, apparently. By thriving, I mean that the whole town didn't drop dead from some mysterious cancer.

And fossil fuel energy is fossil fuel energy, basically. And unfortunately America is heavily dependent on it (it is getting better, thanks to CFL bulbs, LCD TV's and alternative fuel sources). Do you notice all of the buses and fleet vehicles using CNG (compressed natural gas).

Anybody that doesn't realize how the American economy is driven (haha) heavily by fossil fuels must be living under a rock! Why do you think we give two sh*ts about the Middle East all these years?

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@DaveW @MikeO 

Fuel substitution which occurs on the industrial level which substitutes natural gas for fuel oils.  Additionally, coal fired power plants are being modified to burn natural gas, most notably "Big Brown" down near Fairfield.  hth

MikeO
MikeO

Okay, well, again, the compressors are part of natural gas production, not part of the fracking, per se, so banning fracking will still leave those compressors cranking.

So you want to ban oil and gas production, not fracking! And I don't think you are going to be very successful at making the energy companies remove millions of dollars worth of equipment, unfortunately.

banepage
banepage

@Guesty give us a number comparing total world wide water/ fracing water

pak152
pak152

@carlwilliams @Sharon_Moreanus not an analogy a fact
"In Tarrant County, Texas, Ceres found that fracking consumed 2.8 billion gallons in 2011, and that was only "about 10% of the water used in all of Texas for hydraulic fracturing."

That's an impressive and disturbing statistic—until you compare it with, say, the amount of water Texans dump onto their lawns. Folks in Fort Worth, Tarrant County's biggest city with a population of more than 750,000, used an average 6.8 billion gallons a year outside their residences from 2004 through 2011, according to the Texas Water Development Board, with 80% to 90% going onto lawns."

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324637504578568533026520790?

also the companies are starting to recycle the water to help lower their costs

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052970203937004578077183112409260

MikeO
MikeO

Horizontal drilling is an absolute necessity for the Barnett Shale. They drill horizontally into the shale to have maximum exposure to the rock. The stuff is so tight you need all the help you can get to reach the gas.

DaveW
DaveW

@MikeO Actually my point about Kilgore is that while you said it was 'thriving',it's actually an economically depressed area without a significant sustainable quality job base within it's own city limits.   It's proximity to Tyler and Longview are what have largely kept it afloat in the days since the bust, much like Gladewater, Gilmer and the other towns out there. A reality that is quickly witnessed when visiting the town regardless if the actual economic data is reviewed. 


More importantly -- I also wasnt drawing a health conclusion to your use of the word 'thriving'.  Am i correct in understanding that you are not in fact making an observation about the economic health of the Kilgore area when you say thriving, rather than one of how the local population is largely healthy despite (if im understanding your parallel) being exposed to the same types of chemicals and fracking as those in Denton?  Or at least, any pluses and minuses in health are (again, if i understand your point) the result of other unrelated factors?


As far as your other comments about the interchangeability between the use of oil and natural gas and their roles in the overall petroleum life cycle - i've heard this argument before, and to be completely honest, I just dont see how one town located on the NE edge of the Barnnet Shale would have the dramatic impact you are referring.  

Do you really believe that if Denton were to pass the fracking ban for inactive and new wells within the city limits that it would be such an impacting loss that all things using non-natural gas products would be so dramatically impacted?  Why do you think that?

I'm also curious -- you've called me a name 'urbanite' which I think was intended to be insulting.  (And i dont care about the name per say, ive been called worse by people who know me better).   And  in doing so, you were making it seem like my observations were skewed by me living in Denton.   Thats, well, something else I dont have a problem with.  I do and I dont have a problem admitting that.  Nor do i have any financial interest in the argument one way or another.  (Other than from a health perspective, of course.)


Point being -- do you live in Denton?  You made it sound like you didnt with your comment.  And while ive talked to a lot of passionate people on both sides of this issue - i have noticed that the ones who behave in the way you did, dont actually live in Denton.  Rather trying to sir things up from a far.


If thats true -- it is what it is.  I just like to know the background of those who take up positions as it helps me understand the true drivers of their argument

MikeO
MikeO

Yeah, you know it's funny, folks in West Virginia are fighting FOR disgusting coal mines!

pak152
pak152

@MikeO "So you want to ban oil and gas production, not fracking!" shhhhh you're not supposed to let everyone know that.

Guesty
Guesty

@Sharon_Moreanus The answer is that no water is taken out of the eco-system by watering your lawn.  Did you even take a science class in middle school?

Trillions of gallons of water are permanently lost by injecting contaminated water into injection wells after fracing (e.g. Chesapeake estimates about 2 billion gallons per day).  The whole point of injecting the fluids as deep as they do is that in theory they will never come back into the eco-system (it would actually be worse of the fluids do make it into the water table, etc.). 

banepage
banepage

@Sharon_Moreanus

  • 326 million cubic miles of water on the planet/
  • the group Skytruth calculated that between January 2011 and August 2012, a total of 20 months, the U.S. used at least 65.9 billion gallons of water to frack for oil and gas, with Texas accounting for almost half of all water use.
(1,101,117,147,352 US gallons in 1 cubic mile of water)

Guesty
Guesty

@banepage @Guesty Why would anyone care about "total word wide water?"  That doesn't do anything for me in Dallas.  I care about fresh water available to North Texas. 

pak152
pak152

@MikeO the recovery rate from horizontal drilling is much better then from a traditional vertical well


MikeO
MikeO

And let me just say: I'm not saying that the oil companies have the right to dump benzene on your back porch! I would have no problem with you pushing for tough regulations (health wise more than physical annoyance wise), but an outright ban is just nonsensical, and that is what really gets my goat about the anti-fracking contingent. I'm just saying.

MikeO
MikeO

Wow, Dave, I'm sorry I've annoyed you so much. You must have a gas compressor in your backyard. Ain't that a bitch!

I'm a Dallas urbanite (see what I did there - it's not an insult). Maybe thriving wasn't the correct word, but the city is still there - I wouldn't want to begin to challenge your encyclopedic knowledge of East Texas economics!

I used the term urbanite facetiously, as in big city Dentonite (Dentonian?) putting down poor little Kilgore. But in the 30's you couldn't spit and miss a drilling derrick in Kilgore and the city survived.

And I'm curious: do you use air conditioning and tool around in your automobile? Well, thank the oil and gas industry everyday for them! People always want their cake and all.

And as I mentioned elsewhere, it's not like I'm the CEO of Exxon/Mobil. I did work in the oil industry (in Longview, before the bust), so I do understand the industry, and it was definitely good for me.

But the bottom line is that there is such a thing as mineral rights and the people who own them have the right to use them. You wanting to take their rights away would be like them saying you can't build a house on their land. You're fighting a losing battle, unfortunately. I'm not trying to stir things up; I'm being a realist.

MikeO
MikeO

Yeah, people just don't understand how much they really need to thank big oil!

They're just an easy target like Sam's Club. It's the cool thing to hate on.

banepage
banepage

@Guesty @Sharon_Moreanus if it's trillions it still doesnt matter right?

you cannot even fabricate a mathematical sentence that shows it hurts in any way..now if you protests against the noise I get you..I used to live next to love field..I get that..if you want to protest against humanity? we part ways

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

A better measure is percentage of fresh water availability at fracking site.

A-nony-mouse
A-nony-mouse

@banepage That 326 million cubic miles of water includes all water, both freshwater and saltwater. Only 2.5% of all Earth's water is freshwater. Of that 2.5%, only 31.3% is made up of groundwater or surface water (the rest is locked in glaciers and ice caps). That makes the numbers more like:


8.15 million cubic miles of fresh water in the world

2.55 million cubic miles of fresh ground and surface water in the world.

So the question becomes, how much of that 2.55 million cubic miles of fresh ground and surface water is available to Texans? I'm going to guess probably not very much. And use for fracking means it is not available for any other use, ever.

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

I'm on the trolley in Uptown and will get back with you.

banepage
banepage

@Guesty @banepage "How much water is permanently taken out of the eco-system by watering lawns?  How much water is permanently taken out of the eco-system by fracing"


You're the one asking the question...I answered it.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@pak152 @MikeO 

Ummm, no.  The typical Barnett well only recovers about 2% to 3% of the OGIP.
 

IP is higher though which allows a Barnett well to recover capital in about a year.


But then again pako, what do I know about this?

pak152
pak152

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul I dont' know what do you know? considering that a horizontal well can pierce through more of a formation than a vertical well says something dontcha think.

"IP is higher though which allows a Barnett well to recover capital in about a year." so then my original statement is somewhat correct.


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