Saturday, July 31, 2010

Flower Mound Residents File Lawsuit To Stop Gas Drilling Permit on Hilliard Field

Friday, July 30th, two Flower Mound residents filed suit against the Town of Flower Mound to stop a permit for drilling on the Hilliard Airfield located on 2499, south of 3040.

The permit would allow up to 24 wells, along with compressors and numerous tank batteries to be located in the middle of a highly populated area of town and close to two schools.

"We believe that our case will show that since 2005, the [town] council majority removed many of the protections provided by Flower Mound's original oil and gas ordinances," plaintiff Virginia Simonson said in a prepared statement. "We also plan to show that the protections were removed without the full understanding or majority support of Flower Mound residents."

A permit to drill was previously denied by the Oil and Gas Board of Appeals because it required at least 4 variances. Since then, the landowner, Mr. Hilliard, cut down trees, capped his well, moved the pad site closer to the highway and other changes to accommodate a pad site.

Simonson feels the Hilliard case shows the inconsistencies in the town's rules. She said the town shouldn't have allowed the trees to be removed while the gas application was pending and allowed the approval process to be circumvented.

To the read article in the Dallas Morning News click here

Many residents feel that the present Oil & Gas Ordinance does not offer enough protections for the residents. They believe the previous local government did not do enough to protect the town.

In May of this year, the residents elected new officials. The NFL team has been doing what they can to undo what had been done but their hands have been tied. They inherited a pile of crap when it comes to regulating the industry. Since being in office they have adopted the moratorium petition, appointed an Oil & Gas Advisory Board, worked hard to get 24/7 air monitoring in the town and other positive changes. They have still have the support of the majority of the people of Flower Mound.

The Hilliard situation is happening now! The Oil and Gas Advisory Board will not submit recommendations for changes to the ordinance for at least 90 days. At that time, the town will listen to citizen input and review the recommendations before adopting any new regulations.

To donate to the Flower Mound Defense Fund click here

Click here for press release.

Press Release for Flower Mound Town Lawsuit

Here is the press release

Robert Hemphill, Attorney at Law
Palmer & Manuel, LLP – (214) 242.6498
Citizens request Court of Law to interpret Town O&G Ordinance

Flower Mound, Texas --- Two Flower Mound residents today filed a request for a declaratory judgment against the Town of Flower Mound and a permanent injunction against the town’s Oil and Gas Inspector.

The filing requests that the Court review the municipal ordinances and related oil and gas permitting policies to see if they are being applied in accordance with state law.

Flower Mound residents Virginia Simonson, board member of The Flower Mound Defense Fund, and Prakash Parameswaran, homeowner in Town View Estates, are represented by Attorney Robert D. Hemphill. The suit was filed in Denton County today.

“Plaintiffs are requesting the court to determine whether the Flower Mound oil and gas ordinance conflicts with state law and the town’s own zoning ordinances, both of which require notice and opportunity for public comment prior to zoning changes. Plaintiffs contend that the town’s current practices effectively enable oil and gas development to occur without citizen input and other protections required by state law,” Hemphill said.

The plaintiffs are seeking a declaratory judgment and a permanent injunction, as it relates to the drilling permit for gas pad development on Hilliard Field, which is bordered by neighborhoods, schools, worship centers and businesses.

“As gas drilling activity accelerated in Flower Mound, including the prospect of 24 wells in the center of our community with homes and schools nearby, the citizens of Flower Mound began looking closely at our current ordinances,” said Simonson. “We believe that our case will show that since 2005, the Council majority removed many of the protections provided by Flower Mound’s original oil and gas ordinances,” added Simonson. “We also plan to show that the protections were removed without the full understanding or majority support of Flower Mound residents.”

Simonson said the town staff opened itself to public scrutiny in January 2010, when the Council approved a resolution to allow large, industrial gas collection and produced water storage facilities in Flower Mound, in the face of overwhelming citizen opposition. That Council vote sparked citizen activism that resulted in a successful petition drive with more than 6,000 signatures collected against the storage facilities – and, ultimately, a new mayor and Council majority.

The new council majority, led by Mayor Melissa Northern, enacted a moratorium on June 7, 2010 for all new gas drilling applications and soon after appointed a citizen Advisory Board to review the Town’s Oil and Gas Ordinances.

Simonson believes that a suit requesting a review by a Court of Law is the only way to address whether current ordinances were legally and consistently applied, and to assess whether the ordinances afford adequate protection to residents, the environment and property values.

Ms. Simonson, along with a board of directors, has launched the non-profit Flower Mound Defense Fund The Flower Mound Defense Fund is organized for the purpose of protecting and promoting the integrity, safety and beauty of residential neighborhoods in the Town of flower Mound, and where necessary, opposing industrial and commercial development, including oil and gas drilling, that is detrimental to the long range preservation of the character and quality of existing residential neighborhoods and the overall residential character of the town.

Currently, the Defense Fund is accepting donations to help support the suit filed today.
The Town of Flower Mound has approximately 3 weeks from the time it receives the complaint to respond.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Don't Miss Out!! (There's only a few days left to stick it to your friends and neighbors!!)

The latest letter from Cherokee Horn screams

A C T I O N R E Q U I R E D !!

of the 20% of Hilliard-area homeowners that haven't yet signed a gas lease. Apparently there's just a few days left before we lose out on the opportunity to earn less than a dollar a day to sell out the health, safety, and well-being of our neighbors and friends. (Don't forget the local school kids, church attendees, and commuters driving up and down 2499.)

It also helpfully mentions that Cherokee Horn has established a "good reputation" with residents, "despite tremendous efforts from a small vocal activist group, to impugn our name and distort the facts."


The letter continues that the Town of Flower Mound will soon "administratively approve" Titan's application for Hilliard since it requires "no variances."

I have a HUGE problem with this for a number of reasons, but here's just one. In May, the O&G Board of Appeals denied a requested variance to Upland Habitat (basically trees) on the Hilliard property. So what did Mr. Hilliard do? He cut down the trees. No upland habitat? No problem!

The letter also "impugns" the anti-URBAN gas drilling folks by saying that we are small (anyone remember the results of the recent Town elections???) and that we've distorted the facts.

Here's a fact for you. If Cherokee Horn/Titan drills on Hilliard, they will be creating an eyesore, a health and safety hazard--possibly for generations to come, and will be doing nothing that will positively impact (other than pennies a day) the financial well-being of anyone in the Town, other than the Hilliard Family.

I keep my lawn mowed, the trim on my house painted, and my flower beds neat and tidy. I do it because I care about my property, but also because I wouldn't do anything that would detract from the neighborhood or harm my neighbors. And for that reason, I will never, ever sign a lease.

I refuse to do anything that facilitates bringing heavy industry into our local neighborhoods. I don't care if they're paying a dollar a day, a thousand dollars a day, or if they offer to put up a playground. It's just not worth it.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Have they forgotten?

For the past 2 - 3 years, we've done everything possible to make Flower Mound residents aware of the threat of gas drilling in highly residential areas.

Many have listened, people have been educated, and the Town has seen some positive changes.

But not enough. Not nearly enough.

Titan Operating plans to soon begin drilling the first of 20-24 wells over the next three to five years on the Hilliard property--located right in the center of the Town.

Read about it in Ladd Biro's terrific article in yesterday's "Denton County Nonpartisan Examiner" HERE

The recent Town election made it abundantly clear that Town residents do not want gas drilling in these highly residential areas. It's only two months later, but have our leaders already forgotten?

Maybe they need to be reminded.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Clarification of type of drilling Kleinfelder performs

We received the following information clarifying the type of drilling Kleinfelder (The company contracted to perform air quality tests for Flower Mound) performs.
We wanted to share this on the blog.

As a growing company, Kleinfelder has acquired several firms across the US to expand both capabilities and skilled professionals needed to serve our clients. The type of drilling associated with our work is usually to evaluate geotechnical or environmental in nature. This is required to evaluate properties of soil associated with building design or to install monitor well points to allow evaluation of groundwater. None of our drilling is related to oil or gas exploration as this is an entirely different effort and not related to the services we offer as a firm.

For example, if you have a release of condensate or produced water that is suspected of impacting the groundwater table we would likely put in a monitor well to evaluate groundwater impact. These are typically 2" diameter PVC pipes installed into the ground to a sufficient depth to allow evaluation of groundwater. This is done under a licensed well driller in Texas and we subcontract this effort. We do not own or operate the type of equipment required to explore for natural gas. This is just not the business we are in.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Flower Mound Picks Oil & Gas Advisory Board

Flower Mound Town Council appointed members of the Oil & Gas Advisory Board on Tuesday evening. The board members is made up of Flower Mound residents that are mineral owners and non-mineral owners, industry experts, and a local attorney that will serve as the mediator.

The board will work together to review the present Oil & Gas Ordinance, research the natural gas drilling process from start to finish and recommend the best drilling practices for Flower Mound.

The members are:
  • Place 1 Virginia Moore, mediator
  • Place 2 Eric Jellison, mineral owner
  • Place 3 Tammi Vajda, mineral owner
  • Place 4 Dennis McKaige
  • Place 5 Al Sanchez
  • Place 6 Eric Barsam
  • Place 7 Rob Marcoe
  • Place 8 Prakash Parameswaran
  • Place 9 Jennifer Rogers
  • Place 10 Brent Halldorson, industry expert
  • Place 11 Deborah Hempel-Medina, industry expert, Williams employee
  • Place 12 John Roheim, industry expert


  • Alternate 1 Erin Bouck
  • Alternate 2 Amy Yaeger, mineral owner
  • Alternate 3 Frankie Arther, mineral owner
  • Alternate 4 Craig Bromley

Click here to read the Wendy Hundley's Dallas Morning News Blog article
Click here to read Chris Roark's Flower Mound Leader article.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Compressor Station has history of fugitive emissions

The Colleyville Courier reports the TCEQ found no violations at the Grapevine Mills well and the Cotton Belt Compressor station located at the 121, 114 and 635 location.

Interesting that this same location had similar problems back in early 2009.

By comparison, drilling activities at the airport or in Grapevine prompted only one complaint since 2007, according to a TCEQ database. The complaint reported strong odors coming from the compressor station over a two-week period in March 2009, but no violations were found by TCEQ.

We received an e-mail about the problem in July of 2009. It was determined that the compression station had a problem. Although the levels where not above the TCEQ benzene esl (effects screening levels) levels, it was reported that they were close and warranted attention and action.

DFW did their own testing with an independent lab.

The following is from the previous post we did in July 2009.

Deja Vu, yet the TCEQ didn't find anything. Go figure!

This summary of DFW Environmental Affairs Department [EAD] recent response actions to odor complaints associate with Chesapeake Energy natural gas mining project being conducted at DFW Airport provides you an update of DFW Environmental Affair’s efforts to identify and reduce sources of odors and provides you a copy of air grab sample laboratory results for your edification.

EAD staff have confirmed natural gas odors emanating from the Cottonbelt Compressor Station consistent with recent 3rd party complaints. EAD collected air grab samples from the compressor station pad on two occasions to determine the constituents and concentrations of contaminants of concern that may be associated with these presenting natural gas process related odors. EAD concerns were shared with Chesapeake Energy site operations personnel as well as Chesapeake's Fort Worth office project manager. A subsequent site meeting confirmed that odors were emanating from both the glycol and BTEX process treatment units. In response to EAD and Chesapeake Energy operations personnel discussions, Chesapeake Energy enacted a reconfiguring of process piping in an effort to mitigate the odorous fugitive emissions. In response to a subsequent complaint from nearby residents, EAD conducted a second round of air sampling at the suspect Cottonbelt Compressor Station. Laboratory analysis [attached pdf files] indicated the presence of very low concentrations of some of the same constituents evident in the first round of air grab samples.

None of the resultant emission concentration levels are considered by OSHA or NIOSH as a worker safety concern. One sample approached, but did not exceed, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality [TCEQ] Effects Screening Level (ESL) for benzene. This ESL is not a regulated limit. We are committed to reducing sources of emissions even in the absence of compelled regulatory drivers. EAD is also responsive to a TCEQ enforced Nuisance Odor Rule in the interest of mitigating odors generated by sources located on Airport.

DFW Airport’s Board of Directors, executive and senior management team is committed to beyond compliance environmental stewardship Airport-wide. DFW’s Environmental Management System (EMS) provides an umbrella of environmental compliance, and beyond compliance response action policies, procedures, monitoring and verification protocols applicable to DFW Board, tenant and contractor activities across the board. Chesapeake’s Fort Worth based project manager has stated that Chesapeake is working to eliminate the odor sources to the extent possible. EAD staff have been assured by Chesapeake Energy that Chesapeake has the capability and resources to effectively address sources of fugitive emissions. EAD staff research confirmed that compressor station emissions are a common problem throughout the oil & gas industry; and that there are mitigation measures available to reduce industry related sources of emissions.

I hope you find this summary of efforts in progress and laboratory results helpful. EAD will continue to press Chesapeake to further identify and mitigate fugitive emissions going-forward and to deploy effective odor mitigation technology and best management practices. Please let me know if you require additional information or clarification at this time.

Sincerely, Dan Bergman, M.S., J.D.,
Vice President Environmental Affairs

Great Videos of the BP Gulf Blowout Disaster

University of Georgia marine scientist, researcher and Gulf expert, Dr. Samantha Joye work is showcased in this great 3 part Documentary.
Click here for Part 1
Click here for Part 2
Click here for Part 3
The UGA and Dr. Joye have a Gulf Disaster blog too.
Click here to access the blog.