Monday, April 27, 2009

You can't drink natural gas!

Here is another great article on water and natural gas drilling. Most of us in high-density neighborhoods do not have our own water wells but this does affect aquifers too. With gas drilling all over North Texas it could threaten our drinking water supply someday.

Gas companies want to argue that contamination is a natural occurrence but everyone knows better.

It challenges the view that natural gas, and the suite of hydrocarbons that exist around it, is isolated from water supplies by its extreme depth," said Judith Jordan, the oil and gas liaison for Garfield County who has worked as a hydrogeologist with DuPont and as a lawyer with Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection. "It is highly unlikely that methane would have migrated through natural faults and fractures and coincidentally arrived in domestic wells at the same time oil and gas development started, after having been down there ...for over 65 million years."

Is it worth the money? Even those with large pieces of property are wondering the same thing. Pay extra attention to the word "few". (Webster's definition of few: not many persons or things)

The wealth has begun trickling down to the residents of Dimock. A few will earn more than a half-million dollars this year, and bimonthly checks for $6,000 are not uncommon. Cabot and its contractors also support the local economy by hiring local labor and patronizing hotels and restaurants in nearby towns.

But the water contamination is forcing the people who live there to accept a difficult compromise.

"You have to evaluate which is more important, the money or the water," said a Dimock resident who declined to be named because he doesn't want to antagonize Cabot, which he says will pay him more than $600,000 this year for the wells on his property. "The economy is so tough. Suppose you could stop drilling -- no one wants Cabot to go away."

As for the rest of us with our little lots in our high density neighborhoods, hopefully we never have to relate to those below.

For some, though, the benefits can be easily erased.
Norma Fiorentino, whose well exploded on New Year's morning, got just $97 in royalties in February. Now a part of her monthly $646 Social Security check goes to buy water. "You can't buy a good well," she said.
Down the road, Pat Farnelli spends more than $100 of her monthly food stamp allotment to buy plastic jugs of drinking water. Next door, Ronald Carter paid $7,000 to install two water treatment systems for his family, then learned they won't remove the gas.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Candidate Debate Tonight Town Hall 7-9 pm

Tonight's Debate is sponsored by The News Connection. The first hour will be set questions. The second hour will be questions from residents in the audience.
Here is the name of the candidates

Place 1 - Steve Lyda, 3128 Sheryl, 972.355.8346
Place 1 -
Steve Dixon, 4604 Wisdom Creek Court, 972.355.8132

Place 3 - Bob Butler, 2804 Lake Hollow Lane, 972.821.7686
Place 3 -
Mike Wallace, 2913 Trailwood Lane, 214.497.7155
Place 3 -
Claudio Forest, 1904 Towne View Blvd., 972.539.4325

Place 5 -Tom Hayden, 4213 Huntwick Lane, 972.899.0655
Place 5 - Angie Cox, 7616 Emerson, 817.491.1653
Place 5 -
Rick Cleland, 2509 Harvard, 972.539.2549
If you can't attend this debate tonight, Stop Morriss 6 will be hosting another April 30th
at 6:30 in Stone Creek Park at Wilkerson Field. Bring blankets or chairs to sit on. For more info go to

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What is in Fracking Fluid? Gas Companies don't have to tell.

These articles where e-mailed to us by some concerned Texans. We wanted to share them since this is an Anti Urban Drilling Blog. If you have any articles you would like to share about gas drilling concerns, please let us know and we will post them.

The first one is lengthy but worth the read.

Here's an excerpt:

"Among Colborn’s list of nearly 300 chemicals – some known to be cancer causing -- is a clear, odorless surfactant called 2-BE, used in foaming agents to lubricate the flow of fracking fluids down in the well. Colborn told Congress in 2007 that it can cause adrenal tumors."

And two more

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Another Bad House Bill HB 4144

The following was forwarded to us by the Texas Municipal League.
The bill would authorize landowners appointed by a county commissioners court to judge the reasonableness of a city’s comprehensive plan. Basically, it will come down to developers telling us how to zone our town. It would greatly impact our Smart Growth plan
Let our representatives in Austin know we want to have a voice in what goes on in our town.

From TML:
I express our concerns on each specific portion of the bill as follows:

The bill would provide that the governing body of a city shall adopt by resolution or ordinance a comprehensive plan as defined by the bill that details current and future land uses and serves as a basis for making planning or zoning decisions of the city.

Chapter 213 of the Texas Local Government Code currently authorizes a city to adopt a comprehensive plan. Many cities choose to adopt a plan to guide the future development of the city. However, for many other cities, the costs attendant to the development of such a plan are unnecessary for any number of reasons. For example, some cities are entirely “built-out,” and others have a limited number of zoning classifications.

The bill would provide that the governing body shall review its comprehensive plan not less often than every three years.

Comprehensive plans are usually developed by a city with the assistance of planning consultants. The cost to develop a plan can be thousands, ten-of-thousands, and in some cases hundreds-of-thousands of dollars. That can be cost-prohibitive for most of our members, and triennial review would be even more so.

The bill would provide that: (1) the governing body shall appoint an advisory committee to make recommendations regarding the adoption, amendment, and review of its comprehensive plan; and (2) the advisory committee is composed of at least five members appointed by a majority vote of the governing body, and at least 40 percent of the membership of the advisory committee must be representatives of the real estate, development, or building industries who are not employees or officials of a political subdivision or governmental entity.

Cities that develop a comprehensive plan generally do so with the assistance of various boards and committees, including the city’s existing planning and zoning commission. Mandating yet another committee is unnecessary, and many cities would be unable to find the specific member representatives as defined by the bill.

The bill would provide that: (1) the governing body may not adopt or amend the comprehensive plan until it conducts at least one public hearing on the recommendations made by the advisory committee, and may not amend or adopt the comprehensive plan before the 30th day after the date the governing body receives the advisory committee's report, unless each of the landowners affected by the plan or amendment consents to the plan or amendment; (2) at the public hearing, a landowner may object to any land use applied to the landowner's tract by the comprehensive plan.

Chapter 213 of the Local Government Code currently requires notice and a hearing at which interested persons may give testimony and present written evidence. The remainder of the above provision appears to misunderstand the purpose of a plan and zoning law in general. City development regulations are currently enacted pursuant to a statutorily-defined public process at which the interests of all citizens are represented. The reason for comprehensive planning is to protect the viability and property value of an area, and granting “veto” authority to any one landowner undermines that process to the detriment of other city residents.

The bill would provide that: (1) a landowner may petition the county commissioners court to appoint three disinterested persons, who reside in the county, as special commissioners to assess the reasonableness of a land use applied to the landowner's tract under the city’s comprehensive plan if the landowner objects in writing to the land use and has been unable to sell or develop the tract in conformity with the land use for a period of three years; (2) the special commissioners shall conduct their proceedings and shall have the same powers as special commissioners in an eminent domain proceeding; and (3) if a majority of the special commissioners determines that a land use applied to a landowner's tract by the comprehensive plan is unreasonable, a majority of the special commissioners may determine a reasonable land use for the tract and order that the comprehensive plan be amended to reflect that use.

The commissioners court has essentially no land use planning experience or authority. Granting the court the authority to appoint person who may not even reside in the city limits, and who may have no interest in the protection of property values in the city, makes no sense. Again, municipal land use regulations are subject to statutorily-defined notice and hearing procedures that ensure adequate public input. County residents who are not elected by the people should not have “veto” authority over elected city officials.

For the reasons above, H..B. 4144 is wholly unnecessary, unduly burdensome, and would promote bad public policy. We are opposed to the bill in its entirety.

Scott Houston
Director of Legal Services
Texas Municipal League
1821 Rutherford Lane, Suite 400
Austin, Texas 78754
512-231-7400 phone
512-231-7490 fax

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Update from Town Council Meeting April 20

The Flower Mound Town Council discussed HB 2110, 4654, and 4441 last night.
Council Member Al Filidoro talked about how these bills would affect our community by removing its ability to self-govern.
The Council is currently having a letter drafted in opposition of the 3 bills and will discuss and approve that letter at the next meeting on May 4th. They have also hired a Legislative Counselor named Fred Hill.

During public participation the following people spoke in opposition of the bills:
Place 1 Town Council candidate Steve Lyda, Place 5 Town Council candidate Tom Hayden, and former Town Councilwoman Laurie Long.

This is proof that your emails and calls to the Town Council are working. Keep up the pressure on our local and most importantly our STATE GOVERNMENT! Tell them we don't want the drilling and development industry to take control of local governments.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Flower Mound Oil & Gas Ordinance Threatened by Texas State House Bills

This letter was sent to us by Virgina Jellison. It was sent to her and she is forwarding it on. It is regarding 3 House Bills that could threaten our Oil & Gas Ordinance. Whether you have signed a gas lease or not, this will impact all Flower Mound Residents. Please show up to the Town Council Meeting this Monday, April 20, at 6:00pm. and request the town officials take a stand against these bills. Let your voice be heard.Below is a copy of the letter sent out.

Dear Residents of Flower Mound:
While we were asleep...Oil and Gas Companies have been quietly maneuvering at the State capitol to remove the ability of local governments to protect its citizens. The denial of gas drilling waivers requested by River Walk developers/owners, who then immediately sued Flower Mound, is at the forefront.
Three Texas House Bills are currently purposed by Oil and Gas companies that would eliminate municipal ordinances that protect residents from having gas wells and pipelines in our yards, next to our schools, on our golf courses, and in front of our churches. Mineral rights already supersede the rights of the surface owner. Which means, that unless you take action oil & gas companies that own or lease mineral rights will determine where to drill, even on your own property? Your only claim will be for damages after they are done drilling. [Think 20 years later, with you having to justify the lost value to and get support from an industry-friendly court.] Otherwise, you will personally have to sue the drillers. How much money do you have to fight a team of highly paid oil/gas industry lawyers?
These bills are:
H.B.2110 – In simple terms states that after a gas driller is turned down for a permit, possibly due to multiple setback violations [like River Walk] they can easily sue the town for a “taking” of their gas and the town will lose its sovereign immunity. [Like the $200 million dollar lawsuit filed by Red Oak against Flower Mound]. Our town ordinances will no longer be able to protect our residents with safety measures and minimum setback for how close a drilling site or drilling can be to any building. [Goodbye 1,000, 500, 400 foot setbacks]
- This bill has moved from committee to the calendar committee for scheduling the House vote -

H.B.4654 – In simple terms states that Texas Railroad Commission will immediately replace municipal ordinances with ordinances that they write for us and we will have to adopt. Towns can no longer determine what a safe distance is from our homes, schools, churches, and businesses. Our ordinance will be null and void. [Think Gas wells at Northshore, River Walk, and Bridlewood Golf Course.]
H.B. 4441 – Takes away the very few rights of local governments to ensure the safety and well-being of their residents and property owners, specifically with regards to: - Rights of way; Screening; Noise Suppression; and Set-backs from Protected Uses in regard to placing gas pipelines. This proposed bill would grant the Texas Railroad Commission "original jurisdiction" over all of these things.
Unfortunately, the Texas Railroad Commission is over-extended with its primary responsibility of maximizing oil and gas production AND has regularly demonstrated both a lack of will and a lack of ability to effectively advocate for environmental and public safety issues. We know best how to protect our own neighborhoods.
Three Railroad Commissioners lavished with campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry cannot possibly create rules to protect millions of Texas home owners.
What does this mean for Flower Mound and all Texas communities?
The Texas Legislature is doing the bidding of the Gas Industry by taking local ordinances out of Flower Mound’s hands. The Gas Industry has found a way, they believe, to silence our voices
Also, this sets precedence for eliminating Flower Mound’s authority to uphold our other town ordinances: SMARTGrowth, Master Plan, etc. This is a downward spiral for all home owners, our property values, and our quality of life!
Take action today! Oil and Gas Companies are moving these and other bills like them to a vote.
Contact your local and state representatives and tell them how you feel. Write letters, send emails, and make phone calls.
1. Tell your neighbors and friends and have them do the same. The Gas Industry has been trying to slide these bills through quietly, so no one will know until it is too late.

2. Ask your Town Elected Officials to take a stand for its residents, rather than yield to River Walk partners. The Flower Mound Leader reports that Town leadership is "going to take a wait and see position". Roy Morris, a local attorney and one of the owners of River Walk and Founders Square, testified in favor of the HB 2110 and stated that Flower Mound is the reason for the bill. Morris and his partners in River Walk are suing our residents for over $200 million dollars. Also, they have asked us for $5 million dollars for River Walk reimbursements known as "economic development incentives" (tax abatements). Our hard earned Taxpayers' money could be used to sue us for more Taxpayer’s money!!!!

3. Vote in the local election for candidates who truly support our gas ordinances and will commit to fight to uphold those ordinances!

Contact information below:
Tell them that you want them to take action have the town’s lobbyist (tax payers money) to lobby against these bills.
Local Government: Email Phone
Mayor Jody Smith 817-480-3211
Tim Trotter 972-539-2290
Jeff Tasker 214-766-7067
Joel Lindsey 972-899-2805
Jean Levenick 817-430-2252
Al Filidoro 972-539-2145
Denton County - State Representative
State Representative Tan Parker
Telephone: 972-724-8477

State Senator Chris Harris Tel: (972) 436-1001
Senator Jane Nelson email: (817) 488-7400
Congressman Michael Burgess
(972) 434-9700
House Committee on Energy Resources
Chair: Rep. Jim Keffer 512-463-0656
Vice Chair:Rep. Myra Crownover 512-463-0582
Rep. Joe Crabb 512-463-0520
Rep. Tom Craddick 512-463-0500
Rep. David Farabee 512-463-0534
Rep. Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles 512-463-0645
Rep. Rick Hardcastle 512-463-0526
Rep. Tara Rios Ybarra 512-463-0463
Rep. Mark Strama 512-463-0821