Saturday, March 15, 2008

Oil and Gas Board Meeting 3/12/08

The turnout at last Wednesday night's O&G Board meeting was GREAT! Every single seat in the Council chamber was full, plus several other people were seated in folding chairs and/or standing in the foyer. Emotions were high and it was obvious that people were there because of gas drilling.

The first and most important thing we want to communicate is that WE ARE SUCCEEDING in letting the board know that we care and are concerned with this issue. We were told that their usual attendance is much smaller. The meeting was very educational. It was also very long; we didn't get out until about midnight and they didn't even get to the "Riverwalk" variance request.When the minutes are posted at the Town website, you'll be able to see the official transcript of the meeting.

Here's our take on the evening. The Board of Adjustments meeting was first and lasted about an hour. The Board heard a request regarding a sign that was a few inches larger than code. It was ultimately denied. (As a reminder the Board of Adjustments also serves as the O&G Board.)

When the O&G Board meeting finally began, we were told that all of us that wanted to speak would be allowed to do so. If you want a chance to speak, you must fill out a form with your name and address. We also learned that there are two opportunities to speak during the meeting. If your topic does not pertain to any of the items on the agenda, you can speak during the "Citizen Participation" portion. If your topic is regarding something on the agenda, you can speak when that topic comes up for discussion. Our understanding is that anything that is stated during the "Citizen Participation" is not officially taken into account for the Board's decision.

We counted six people that spoke during the "Citizen Participation" portion of the meeting. All of those individuals expressed their concern over drilling in urban areas.

It was then explained that the board could only make determinations based upon what was in the O & G ordinance and that even if they personally disagreed, they still had to go by the ordinance. We were told that their decisions could not be overturned by Town Council.

We heard a very detailed presentation by a consultant who explained all of the variance requests for the first item on the agenda--the proposed drill site in far NW F.M. (This particular lease hold is made up of about a dozen homeowners who each have a fair amount of acreage and who want the gas well.) This was followed by a presentation by the town O & G inspector. Many, many questions were posed by board members as well as some very lengthy discussion on how each of the 12 criteria for approving each variance could or could not be met. The audience was also allowed to ask questions at this point.

Eventually, about midnight, all of the requested variances were passed . Because of the late hour, the request for variance for the "Riverwalk" Cross Timbers/Moriss Road location was tabled until next month's meeting.

We sure hope they give every drilling related variance request the same amount of scrutiny as they did that poor sign that was denied.

Remember...this is a marathon folks. The facts are on our side and we will prevail, but we have to be persistent and patient and smart. And we are.


Anonymous said...

I attended the meeting on Wednesday night and greatly appreciated the comments presented. The Town's attorney reminded everyone that the Oil and Gas Board was basically a judicial board, not a legislative one. After reviewing the Town's Oil and Gas Ordinances, I wondered if anything was being done to modify the Ordinances at the legislative level. It appears that will be the only way to effectively limit and/or halt gas drilling within the Town of Flower Mound.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget about the permanent and constant loud noise of large gas compressor stations that are needed to get the gas out of the ground. They may locate them out of the city limits, but many can be heard up to two miles away. We had the bad luck of having one located next to us - sounds like an airport next to our homes. Check out if interested.