Friday, June 27, 2008

Today's Postcard from Cherokee Horn...

Today I received yet another communication from Cherokee Horn. This one just about put me over the edge.

To quote our "good neighbors" at Cherokee Horn..."Texas has always been an oil and gas state. We produce more energy than any other state, but we also consume more. It only makes sense that we are prepared to meet future needs with natural gas from the Barnett Shale."

My first response is to refer them to Mr. Belcher's--oh so succinct--comments at the recent O&G Board of Appeals meeting. Here they are on youtube:

But instead, I'll be a bit more rational. Let's break this down:

Claim: Texas has always been an O&G state.

Fact: Texas has a "colorful" history of unmonitored and unsafe, oil and gas drilling--even in unpopulated areas. The Texas Railroad Commission has openly admitted oversight problems and that it has no guidelines for urban drilling, because it is so new and so little understood.

Oil and gas interests are major contributors to political campaigns which results in decisions that benefit the few and harm the many. Just because this unsafe and unfair scenario is the "norm" is no justification for it to continue--especially now that so many lives are directly impacted.

Claim: We produce more energy than any other state, but we also consume more.

Fact: Most people know that Texas is the second largest US State, with one of the highest populations. This is irrelevant for justifying drilling near my family's home.

Claim: It only makes sense that we are prepared to meet future needs with natural gas from the Barnett Shale.

Fact: Gas is already being extracted from the Barnett Shale in wide open spaces and in some neighborhoods where decisions are made by people with oil and gas conflicts of interest. Most people acknowledge there is a difference between drilling on large acreages and remote pastureland and a residential neighborhood.

Other recent communications by oil and gas representatives/supporters have inferred that they are willing to sue towns and neighborhoods who only want reasonable protections.

Insults and name-calling by speculative bullies and their supporters defines them, not us.

These are our homes and our neighborhoods. Until the attitude changes at the local and state level, the only protections for our neighborhoods is neighborhood unity. Special interests have the time and money to wait for us to wear down.

Or so they think.


Anonymous said...

And how long do you think it will be before the lawsuits start coming in and what is best for your neighborhood is decided by a single judge instead of our elected officials and boards made up of our peers? When the decision comes down to a single judge....with most of the oil/gas case history on the side of the mineral rights owners, you are going to feel "so proud" of your name calling and "victory" in front of the oil & gas board. Of course, by then, it will be a different excuse with a whole new group to blame

Anonymous said...

You continue to claim lawsuits. Remember the residents of Flower Mound are the ones who voted for the people on the council who are suppose to adhere to the master plan and smartgrowth and not roll over and make it easy for the developers to get rich and grant all kinds of ammendments and variances at the risk of impacting the residents quality of life and safety. What special interest group do you work for, "Dirty Flower Mound politicians, Inc."?

Anonymous said...

So *every time* someone threatens to sue you, you just role over? Wow, what a backbone you have. If you don't stop posting on here, I will sue you. (did that work?)

Anonymous said...

I am not a lawyer but after reading the ordinance, the O & G board followed the rules. It does not say anywhere they HAVE to grant variances. With many open spaces on the outskirts of town, Lakeside Business being just one of many, there are many options for the gas companies to drill without asking for variances. The most important variances that should never be compromised is distance from high to medium density residences and schools and environmentally sensitive area and flood plains. The gas company and the developer keep saying they care about the people of Flower Mound and the town. If they try to sue, it will show their true colors and prove they are hypocrites.

Anonymous said...

If the gas companies sue, can we at least ALL agree that they are not our "partners" anymore. After all, most business partners I deal with, usually don't sue me. If they do, it puts a real damper on the relationship.

Anonymous said...

It's strange, there has never been a lawsuit like the one in Flower Mound, yet a poster on here continuously references one, was there some inside information you knew of BEFORE the lawsuit was filed you would like to share?

Anonymous said...

I think the lawsuit was inevitable. FMCAUD came out aggressively to fight the Northshore drilling and rode the mounting wave to show up and protest everything that came before the O&G Board. You are right, they do not have to grant variances- they can follow the ordinance to the letter. But our constant letter writing campaigns, blogs etc only helped bolster the Red Oak case that we are against all drilling and our ordinance makes it impossible to drill on our own land. The lawsuit will not be about whether the O&G Board had the right to turn down the request under the current ordinance, it is about whether the current ordinance ties a landowners hands in drilling on his own property within reason. We walk a fine line on that one- it will be interesting to see what happens in the coming months. You picketers out there, will have to move to the courthouse, because it is completely out of the town's hands now! Except for the fact that we will now have to pay a lawyer to pursue these lawsuits. If Red Oak wins, there are sure to be others. I appreciate the leaders who have taken up this cause, but sometimes we get so emotional about one side of an issue that we lose sight of the bigger picture. That short-sidedness could come back to bite us all!

Anonymous said...

"drill on their properties within reason." Interesting. Do you think it is reasonable to drill 300 or 500 feet from a hospital? In a flood plain near houses that already have flooding issues? Is it reasonable to need 12-15 variances to drill on a piece of property? I can see maybe one or two but many variances were needed here. There is nothing reasonable about the River Walk and there is even more unreasonable about Northshore and Bridlewood. What is resonable? Well the area off Scenic, out in far west Flower Mound, the land in the far south end of Flower Mound. How about Lakeside? Nothing else is really happening there. Us picketers never picketed River Walk. Only Cherokee Horn. But as least we have the guts to put ourselves out there and voice our opinions. I am getting my sign ready for the courthouse right now. Thanks for reminding me to do so.

Anonymous said...

I guess all you red-blooded flag wavers think we should just stay tethered to foreign oil and gas versus pumping it out of our own backyards. Hope you enjoy your $5 gas! DRILL BABY DRILL!