Sunday, January 17, 2010

Centralized Collection Facility (CCF) for Flower Mound

We received this letter from a reader and thought that it sounded right on track. We have added links only.

The question is not, should drilling be allowed, but how should drilling be done while protecting the health and safety of residents as well as the drinking water and air we breathe?

The Oil & Gas Industry wants us to believe that they could not do business if they had to comply with provisions in the major federal environmental statutes intended to protect human health and the environment.
These statutes include the:

Safe Drinking Water Act
Clean Water Act
Clean Air Act
National Environmental Policy Act
Toxic Release Inventory under the Emergency Planning
Community Right-to-Know Act
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

In 2005, Congress passed Halliburton’s Energy Bill exempting Oil & Gas Industry from these acts. Leaving our community and others without regulations that ensure we have clean air, safe drinking water, and clean water, as well as community emergency plans for any incidents.

“While the PR campaign for the Natural Gas industry promotes its product as “clean burning” it hides the fact that the new form of drilling, pioneered by Halliburton, is incredibly harmful to our environment and threatens to permanently contaminate a huge amount of the country’s water supply, create drastic air pollution conditions, and despoil huge areas. Despite overwhelming evidence of contamination, mismanagement and corruption, the general public remains unaware of the extreme effect the drilling may have on their lives.” (Josh Fox producer of GASLAND-the movie)

William Production Company submitted an application on November 25, 2009 to amend the Land Development Regulations to allow a Centralized Collection Facility as a Special Use in Flower Mound.

Mayor Jody Smith and Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Jean Levenick have both signed leases with the Williams Production Company. Despite this being the only application for in our community for this type of facility, these elected officials have refused to recuse themselves from participating in this process. It appears they have found a loophole - Make this an ordinance change for the whole community and it won’t be just about Williams. Although, public comments by the Mayor, saying we will try to limit this to only this area, whether intentionally or unintentionally, giving this company an unfair business advantage and definitely a conflict of interest & cause for lawsuit.

By now I am sure you know what a CCF is. The name is pretty accurate. This collection facility will be collecting toxic waste from gas drilling activities known as Fracturing or Fracking. Dr. Theo Colburn, one of the first scientists to analyze the 274 chemicals used in the drilling process. She explains that these chemicals are known to cause cancer, damage to the central nervous system, dizziness, lung disease, headaches, nausea, and loss of sense of smell.

How will it work? Pipelines are buried 3 feet underground and will run from each well site to the CCF carrying toxic fracking waste. These pipelines have Eminent Domain rights. Meaning that drilling companies choose where they want the pipelines to go and can condemn personal property and run these pipelines through your yard. The width needed for eminent domain would be at least 30ft wide. There is nothing to prevent Williams from accepting tie-ins from other sites including other gas companies, creating an even larger industrial area with more pollutants. (statement from town)

On Thursday, January 21st @ 6:00 Town Council will vote whether to allow this new Industrial activity in our community. The statements have been made that this is just zoning. In our zoning for manufacturing we do not allow this type of activity, but we are willing to allow it for agriculture. It is much easier to fight a lawsuit for not allowing zoning verses allowing zoning but declining the permit.

Where is the Town’s due diligence? We have an application and will vote on it without any idea of how big the scope of this project is. Pipelines throughout our whole community devaluing developed property (homes & retail) and making undeveloped property undevelopable/worthless. Creating the snowball effect of reduction of property tax dollars and sales tax.

Let’s be realistic… This isn’t about William’s being good neighbors – It is about their bottom line. If this is passed how much will Williams make for turning Flower Mound into the Toxic Waste Storage for surrounding communities? If Williams were really interested in being good neighbors, they would do onsite recycling. (Less water, less trucks, less risk, and less toxic waste dumped into a well just north of the border of Flower Mound to our neighbors in Argyle). The protest of cost should not be the Town’s issue, but somehow it is always the first thing mentioned – cost prohibited. Where is the cost analysis? Of course William’s like many other developers in our community will have to include the cost of the land they purchased. It seems to be a trend in our community. Most developers put an option on land to insure they can change the zoning, but in Flower Mound that doesn’t seem to be the way business is done.

This is the last chance for our elected officials (Mayor Smith and Councilmember’s Levenick, Dixon, and Wallace) and our community to close Pandora’s Box before there is irreversible damage to our unique country atmosphere, heritage, and quality of life of the residents of Flower Mound.

This type of zoning does not fit within our community and the threat of a lawsuit should not scare of municipality from protecting its rights. Isn’t this why we, the taxpayers of Flower Mound, paid Fred Hill so much money to lobby for our Municipalities right to self govern?

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