Friday, April 30, 2010
1) Over 2,100 votes were cast between Monday and Thursday (no info on the Friday numbers yet). Normal early voting numbers are in the 125-150/day range. And just to understand the magnitude--in last year's election, a total of just over 3,000 votes (in total) were cast.
2) Candidate Robinson wore green every day to work the polls. (This guy is SERIOUS when he says that he's an environmentalist.)
Thursday, April 29, 2010
- We're your neighbors, we've been here since 2005, but since listening to all of the debate ("one month ago"), we've decided that we need to provide community education.
- They were "thrilled" with the results of the last O&G Board of Appeals (where they were granted requested variances) and that the outcome shows "how we can all work together."
- Soon there will be a new outreach person and she is a Flower Mound resident.
- They will "strive" to maintain their practice of not asking for variances for residential setbacks.
Q&A: (Operators took questions off line) Here's some key questions/answers that I took note of:
Q: Gas drilling has divided our community. Wouldn't a timeout allow for a calmer assessment?
A: Great Question. The current petition wouldn’t stop current gas drilling. I bet a lot of people think it will stop current drilling. We don’t think a moratorium does much for the community but it does stop a best management practice.
Q: Timing for this meeting is questionable--less than 2 weeks prior to the election. What do you expect to gain?
A: Great Question. They dropped the ball and they wish they could have started education earlier. They are taking "no action to influence who votes for who." They continued however, that they have to defend their operations.
Q: Please clarify that the proposed CCF is not a toxic waste site.
A: Great Question. If you look at the environmental definition of what’s toxic, it’s basically salt water and is not defined as toxic.
Q: From a leaseholder: I think gas drilling will reduce our dependence on foreign oil. What can I do to support your efforts?
A: Great question. We need help; share facts.
Summary: It's a privilege to operate in Flower Mound and we do work to preserve the quality of life. Flower Mound's ordinances protect its residents.
We are aware that it will be difficult to permit in the more residential areas. The claims that we’re coming to someone’s backyard are exaggerated. [Editor's note: Tell that to people around Hilliard and yes, I know that it isn't being developed by Williams. So what? It will be an eyesore as people drive into Town.]
Note: The next call is Wednesday, May 5th at 7:00pm. To sign up for the call go to their web site.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Should we define ALL to include out of town gas drillers? See HERE
Should we further define ALL as inclusive of those with gas leases but exclusive of those who "would not benefit from drilling?" See HERE
Should we also define ALL by excluding the "several thousand residents" who signed the petition? See HERE
ALL of the opponents of Northern, Filidoro, and Lyda (NFL) are putting out campaign literature that says in fact, we should.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Proposition #1 will decide whether the Chinn Chapel Soccer Complex should be "traded" for a new site with larger fields that have "equal or better quality" improvements.
Details are here:
Just a word of caution...pay attention to this one. It's about gas drilling, despite what they're saying (or not saying).
As Milton Friedman said, "There's no such thing as a free lunch." The current soccer complex is valued at $4.3M, while the new site (with yet to be constructed improvements is $4.6M). This would be an even swap--no money to change hands. But why such a good deal for the Town?
It's simple. Location, location, location.
The old soccer fields (what the Town is trading away) will provide a driller with a drill site that won't require variances for being too close to a park.
Look at this one carefully before you vote to approve this "freebie."
Here's a link to a sample ballot:
If you do NOT agree with the swap, vote "NO".
But goodness gracious people, do you know how easy it is to go to:
If you do, you'll see:
Registrant Contact Information:
Name: Bob Balekian **
Monday, April 26, 2010
***Sorry, just can't make myself write out the entire name of her FB page. Plus, if I do, one of her many "friends" over at Flower Mound High might google it and land on this blog and mistakenly believe that we were endorsing a candidate.
Anyway, I digress. Back to the administrators of her FB page because there's a couple more that deserve mention. It's not just her two BFF gal pals that administer her FB page; it's her two running mates: Bryan Webb and Gerald Robinson. (As a reminder, Mr. Robinson is the environmentally sensitive candidate and I'm pretty sure he actually is. I saw him at the polls today and he had on a green shirt.)
Mayor Smith, why haven't you distanced yourself from the perpetrators of these hateful communications? Mr. Webb? Mr. Robinson?
Sunday, April 25, 2010
[Editor’s note: There will be lots of editor’s notes in this posting.]
Bob Weir conducted the debate in an orderly and respectful manner. Other than the antics of one of Mayor Smith’s larger than life supporters on the front row (who was continually shushed by a soon to be retiring Councilwoman), the crowd was behaved and responded by politely clapping after their respective candidates answered each question.
Here’s a summary of the debate highlights:
In response to a question about the three main issues over the next three years, Melissa Northern spoke about the need for vision combined with the responsibility to listen to the residents. Al Filidoro stated that in their encounters with the public while campaigning they’ve been asked over and over about gas drilling. He said that the residents think it’s the key issue. He also said that the Town’s image needs to be addressed as we’ve been ridiculed on national TV as well as by the local media. Steve Lyda stated that this year’s Council had focused on small things, but that he wants the next Council to focus on big things—primarily a re-look at the O&G ordinance. Mr. Robinson questioned why the Town is spending so much on attorney’s fees. He stated that he wants a safe environment. Bryan Webb reiterated Mr. Robinson’s statements.
The answers to the next question, “Given the economic downturn, do you favor an increase in taxes or a reduction in services?”, provided nothing memorable other than Mr. Robinson, once again, stating his concern about going “overboard” on legal fees. He also said that it scares him regarding all the “bad-mouthing” that is going on related to mixed-use.
The candidates were then asked about Riverwalk—that despite being in bankruptcy, what should be done to ensure the most advantages for residents. Mr. Robinson again expressed his support for mixed use.
The next question asked about the candidate’s vision for the next decade and beyond. Mr. Lyda said that Flower Mound should remain the “little piece of paradise” that caused him to move here years ago. Mr. Filidoro said that gas drilling is here to stay, but that we need to work on the ordinance. Ms. Northern said her desire was that Flower Mound be known for its healthy lifestyle. Mr. Robinson again mentioned that mixed-use will be the driver for growth. He mentioned attorney’s fees. Again. Mr. Webb mentioned a resurgence of growth.
The next question [Editor’s Note: Now’s when it gets interesting] asked what the most important quality of a public servant. Ms. Northern responded that it was respect for our citizens. She also read a quote from 2004, when Ms. Smith first ran for mayor. Ms. Smith questioned the now-former mayor’s ethics and stated that “The mayor is showing signs of being in office too long.”
Mr. Filidoro said the most important quality was trustworthiness. He said that over 650 residents came to Town Hall on January 21st and over 80 spoke against the CCF, but the current Council majority didn’t listen and in fact, ridiculed them. He said that the Council majority still questions the 6,000 petition signers. He said that he had heard them and that they must be treated with respect.
He also said that a public servant should not embarrass the town. He said that Mike Huckabee, on his national radio show, had mentioned the embarrassing incident with the mayor. His desire is for national figures to talk about great things in Flower Mound, not indiscretions. He concluded by saying that none of the NFL holds gas leases and will not have conflicts of interest when such issues come in front of Council.
Mr. Robinson said that the most important quality was leadership. He agreed that we have a negative image but that he was not going to point fingers for the reason. Mr. Webb’s response was that the Council had received the petition and that the voters should have their say. He said that 5,600 people should not be allowed to make the law. He stated that would be wrong.
Ms. Smith stated that she was “duly tried” and they found “no guilt.” She asked why does this keep rising? She said that she touched the backside of the officer and on January 21st she admitted it and apologized for it. She continued that “if that’s not integrity, then I dare you to come up here and say the same.” And finally, she questioned why this ever got out of a closed, sealed record and that she’d love to give us her opinion.
[Editor’s note: I’m speechless over that one.]
The next question asked if when phase one of Morris/Gerault is complete would you be in favor of suspending phase two?
In a nutshell, the NFL candidates said that phase two likely isn’t needed considering what is happening with Riverwalk. Their opponents all said that phase two should proceed. Mr. Robinson stated that he believes that Riverwalk will be “extremely viable and a jewel of our town.” Mr. Webb commented that “phase two needs to follow phase one and that, “it may not be popular—sorry.”
The next question asked where waste water from gas drilling is dumped.
Mr. Robinson expressed his support for the CCF because it’s the “environmentally safe way to go.” Mr. Webb and Ms. Smith also stated their support for the CCF.
Ms. Northern questioned the CCF by asking if it’s right to move our trash to someone else and that we needed to look at on-site recycling. Mr. Lyda reminded the audience that we were firmly against salt water injection wells and so why would we allow something similar above ground. Mr. Filidoro asked why don’t we require recycling? He stated that last year Williams promised that they’d never put a high pressure injection well in Flower Mound and that he had believed them. He said that they then went and proposed one in Argyle; just across the Flower Mound border. He concluded by saying that our water table doesn’t know where the border is.
The candidates were next asked about what they’d like to see in the next Town Charter review. Mr. Lyda said “term limits” and that boards and commissions should be utilized more. Mr. Webb said that we should take a look at quasi-judicial boards and take a harder look at the selection process.
Ms. Smith wants another Council member so that the mayor could also vote. She also wants a Code of Conduct and that in fact, she and Councilwoman Levenick had requested one in November, but alleged that Mr. Filidoro had quashed it knowing that the “butt tapping” incident would blow up soon.
Ms. Northern stated that legal needed to be part of any reviews. Mr. Filidoro confirmed that in fact, he did not stand behind that police officer, he did not pinch him, and that he didn’t know anything about it until the investigation had been completed. Mr. Robinson said he would never write a letter that was negative towards another Councilmember.
Editor’s Note: Apparently, Mr. Robinson has not checked his mailbox lately. See HERE, HERE, HERE.
The next question asked that with our strong O&G ordinance, what will you do to ensure that the O&G Board will not grant so many variances? Mr. Filidoro questioned that we have the strongest O&G ordinance considering the tremendous number of variances that are granted. He wants to address the variances in a complete review of the ordinance. Mr. Robinson stated that the current 1,000 foot setback are in line with “Drill Right” Texas recommendations and he added that if a variance was requested for less than 1,000 feet from a residence, homeowners—even one—should be able to say “no.” Ms. Smith commented that they had removed two individuals from the O&G Board this year and that she had sent them for training. She also said that potential O&G Board members are asked if they have a gas lease.
[Editor’s Note: But apparently, the fact that Ms. Smith and Candidates Robinson and Webb have gas leases is irrelevant.]
Mr. Lyda said that the Council should appoint members that do not have a bias. He also said that we needed an independent Town Council, despite the letter from Keystone Exploration supporting the NFL’s opposition. Read that letter HERE. Ms. Northern added that the O&G Board should receive training, but that it be unbiased. Mr. Webb responded to the question by saying that he had “lost his thought.”
Debate participants were then asked to relate the community service that they were most proud of. Everyone listed numerous boards, commissions and volunteer services, but two responses stood out:
Ms. Smith derided the NFL for riding around in the “NFL Express.” She proudly stated that she walks the Town parks and trails. She added that she had "selfishly" served the Town. [Editor's note: I'm sure that comment was just a mistake--everone misspeaks now and then.] Mr. Webb said he was most proud of his brother’s service in an organization that honors fallen military members. [Editor's note: While admirable, how is that relevant to his public service?]
The next question asked for their thoughts on the role that the Texas Railroad Commission plays in the current gas drilling debate. Ms. Northern expressed her concern that despite many thousands of wells being added, there are no additional resources allocated for oversight. Mr. Filidoro explained that the TRRC has acknowledged that their current regulations do not address urban gas drilling.
Mr. Robinson expressed a concern that if we get “over-aggressive”, then we could lose our rights, as a municipality, to regulate. Mr. Lyda commented that we have to make sure that our local control isn’t affected by the state and commented that Ms. Northern had been instrumental in this. Mr. Webb agreed with the concern about state control and offered that Ms. Smith, too, had fought against this. He also said that he supported variances “when they made sense.” Ms. Smith stated that our O&G ordinance is 3 ½ times stronger than what the TRRC requires, but then she stated that she agreed that they should have separate oil and gas regulations.
The final question of the night was if they believed we should roll over to unwanted growth to avoid lawsuits.
Mr. Filidoro stated that if you’re in the business of making laws you should not be afraid of lawsuits. He stated that our legal fees had actually gone down—from 2.9% to 1.3%. He also said that they could be eliminated altogether, but we’d have to just ask them how much they want and give it to them. He explained that we cannot do that as we have an obligation to protect the Town.
Mr. Robinson explained that he was a Marine and that he was trained to be “judicious” when he fought. He said that 1.9% is too much. He said he wasn’t in favor of letting people get their way, but if not necessary, he’d rather spend on keeping our streets safe. Mr. Lyda reminded Mr. Robinson that we have a sales tax to keep our streets safe. He said that the Town attorney will not lead us into unnecessary litigation. He then explained that the eminent domain litigation is a record case and not insignificant.
Mr. Webb stated that such litigation was not a good use of our tax dollars. Ms. Smith denied that we had rolled over. Ms. Northern commented that we have to protect our municipal authority and that if we allow people to come in and seize the Town’s property, then what’s next?
Each candidate was then given time to make a concluding statement.
Ms. Northern promised to do what’s right, not bow down to another entity, and to never lose site that it is the Town residents that she serves.
Ms. Smith said she challenged the NFL’s “new direction” as it sounds like the recent national election which promised change. She said that Flower Mound is a healthy place and reminded everyone that she walks and that no one wonders about where the garbage trucks take our trash. She then concluded that her opponent would make 2499 a toll road. She said that Ms. Northern had stated that at the Bridlewood debate.
Mr. Webb reminded the audience that at the beginning of the debate he had said that he hoped that he would make it easy to determine whether he or Mr. Lyda should receive their vote.
[Editor’s Note: He did.]
Mr. Lyda spoke of his enjoyment in campaigning with Ms. Northern and Mr. Filidoro. He said that he believes that the election of Ms. Northern will help to restore integrity to the office of mayor. He concluded with the quote of the night by saying that “I think that if Jody Smith is elected for two more years, Williams will be getting their Christmas goose early this year.”
Mr. Robinson reminded everyone that he is positive and he doesn’t believe in leadership through litigation. He said that he lives by the Rotarian 4-way test. Is it the truth? Is it fair? Does it build goodwill? Is it beneficial to all? He then proceeded to say that Ms. Northern’s suggestion to turn 2499 into a toll road was a “dumb idea.”
Mr. Filidoro commented that he must not have been at the same debate, because what Ms. Northern had said was that money for the expansion of 2499 was coming from things like the 121 toll road. [Editor's note: Ms. Northern's comments were clarified at the Bridlewood debate--she misspoke and then she immediately corrected it. Hey..everyone does it, right? (Search this post for "selfishly."]
Mr. Filidoro then said that there had been lots of slams by the opposition and many had been addressed by him. He said however, that the lowest slam of all was against the “NFL Express.” He questioned (with a straight face), why would anyone slam an innocent electric vehicle.
[Editor's Note: Kudos to Mr. Weir for conducting a debate that was informative and worthwhile. My only suggestion would be that in future debates, assaults on innocent, inanimate objects (that are unable to defend themselves), be off-limits. Golf carts deserve our respect, too.]
Friday, April 23, 2010
This line really describes what the May 8th Municipal Elections and the FM Cares Petition are all about.
The time has come for proactive leadership in Flower Mound. Leaders who demand accountability from themselves, and from businesses operating within our limits. If Williams wants to drill here, they should be required to operate using best practices and, at a minimum, adhere to our existing ordinances.
The time to protect our town is now before it is too late. Get out and vote!!
Thursday, April 22, 2010
The evening will begin at 5:30 PM with a pre-party which will be open to all and will include a cash bar and snacks. At 6:30 PM GASLAND will be screening in the Modern’s Auditorium. The ticket price for the screening will be $15. Afterwards, Josh Fox will be on hand to answer some questions. Then, at 8:30 PM the VIP After-party with Josh and members of Texas OGAP will begin, with an entry fee of $100. (movie included).
All proceeds from the evening’s events will benefit Texas OGAP. To RSVP, go to http://gasland.earthworksaction.org/.
See you on May 12th!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Click HERE to read today's letter.
(Yes, I know, it isn't signed, but Jan Balekian--Jody Smith's BFF--forgot that her postage permit #934 could easily be tied to her...tsk...tsk. That was way too easy.)
The theme of this communication is that Mr. Filidoro used to be a DEMOCRAT (so what? so was Ronald Reagan), that he is a back-room dealing, Chicago-style politician (wait--Jody's the one from Chicago and we've now seen four deceitful, slander-filled communications begging for votes for her and her slate), and that efforts to control the march towards industrialization will result in "more government" and "increased taxes."
That's nonsense. If the drillers have their way (and it looks like they would with the "Smith/Smith/Smith" ticket--reference the Keystone letter), Flower Mound would have hundreds of gas wells throughout the town. This would directly impact taxes--but in a very negative way. Our infrastructure will be stretched, our tax base will be reduced when home values decrease (which they will--no one wants to live near a gas well or in a community filled with them), and business will shy away. When Flower Mound becomes an undesirable place to live, it will also become an undesirable place to shop.
Bottom line...this latest communication is an assault on common sense. How can the NFL (Northern, Filidoro, Lyda) slate be labeled as failing to represent the conservative values of Flower Mound when it is doing nothing more than attempting to represent the MAJORITY of Flower Mound residents who have nothing to gain financially from the supposed "blessings" of the Barnett Shale?
And one final word. Jan's final jab at Mr. Filidoro is that a former employer stated that he was a "snake." That's cheap Jan. Even for you. You include an alleged quote that is undated, unattributed, and is completely unverifiable.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
All residents should be concerned about this information received from a local realtor:
“I had a customer inform me two days ago that the home equity loan they were obtaining in order to purchase a small investment piece near them was turned down by GMAC because their home property was under a gas lease. I dug a little further and found through mortgage brokers that that they are encountering the same reluctance on the part of some local and some bigger banks to lend on leased properties. I hope those who have signed leases have figured this into the equation. A similar example would be as in the case of Flood Zone properties for whom the Flood Insurance program was withdrawn, banks would also not lend on those. In the real estate world, things like this are a huge consideration in factoring property values. Just thought some people might not be aware of this trend by lenders.”
And, as has been reported by Breathing previously, the Federal Housing Administration issued this warning:
Operating and abandoned oil and gas wells pose potential hazards to housing, including potential fire, explosion, spray and other pollution. Therefore, no dwelling may be located closer than 300 feet from an active or planned drilling site or 75 feet from an operating well; this applies to the site boundary, not to the actual well location.
click here to read about it at Breathing is Political.
This is not good.
The policies have been under fire because they often result in extreme punishment for very minor infractions where discretion should have been used.
Below are links to Whosplayin and the story.
Click here for for info.
Click here to see the video from the LISD meeting.
Monday, April 19, 2010
- The turnout was great and there were a significant number of NFL T-Shirts noted.
- Ginger Simonson made a comprehensive presentation of the results of the petition drive.
- During the public participation portion: (My apologies if these aren't 100% complete; I was taking notes as quickly as I could and I have combined some of the speakers if their issue was the same. These are also not necessarily in the same order as the actual speakers.)
- Candidate Bryan Webb retracted a quote that had recently been reported by Chris Roark in the FM Leader. I believe it was related to the FM Cares debate.
- Several NFL supporters, including Candidate Lyda, spoke about their character being challenged by people opposed to the NFL and that they did not like being called "Marxists and Socialists."
- A number of people challenged Paul Stone's ethics complaints. One person specifically quoted his comment about "what happened to civility?" The speaker then talked about the flyers circulating (Keystone, etc.) and the fact that all candidates had agreed to the "Code of Fair Campaign Practices" and that there would be no character defamations, etc. He asked that Mayor Smith publicly repudiate these communications. (She did not.) He reiterated that it was false that "activists" were seeking to halt all drilling operations as the Keystone flyer had alleged.
- Two speakers spoke out strongly against Mr. Stone for making false allegations against them and asked for a public apology. ("Mr. Stone is a stickler for ethics, but not a stickler for the facts.") Mayor Smith explained that Mr. Stone had called her before tonight's meeting to communicate that his mother was ill and he could not attend. (He did not however, communicate any apologies that Mayor Smith should make on his behalf.)
- One speaker stated that the has heard it said that the "radicals" had brought all of this negative talk and dissension to the election debate. He stated that was not so, that the events of January 21st when the Mayor and majority of the Town Council ignored the public outcry, was the cause.
- Another speaker asked the Council if the proposed Chinn Chapel land swap had anything to do with gas drilling that they were not telling us.
- Candidate Gerald Robinson said that in 2006 he attended 30 meetings related to the Master Plan and that he doesn't ascribe to attack tactics. (It should also be noted that he wore a green tie.)
- Mark Stewart (the author of the infamous Saul Alinsky letter), decried what he called the "tremendous amount of anti-drilling rhetoric" including an alleged threat by a petition worker to a 30 year resident (whose husband has cancer) that "if you don't get out of town, we'll burn you out." [Editor's note: DO YOU SERIOUSLY THINK THAT ANYONE IS GOING TO BELIEVE THAT NONSENSE?!?]
- Shiloh Chris complained that the petition group was a PAC and that the petition should be rejected until every single person that signed it agreed to initial every page of the petition indicating that they fully understood it.
- And finally, one speaker challenged Mayor Smith's comments this week (carried by Channel 11) that the Police Chief's job performance was under scrutiny by her and several Council members. He stated that it was against the Town Charter for her to be involved in such matters.
Mayor Smith then asked the Town Attorney and the Town Manager to address some of the questions raised. In particular, the question that appeared to be the most troubling for the Town staff to respond to related to whether or not it had been appropriate for Mayor Smith to publicly discuss the Police Chief's job performance. The Town Manager stated that he did not interpret such matters and the Town Attorney stated (after some hesitation) that if the comments had been unethical he would have brought it to the Mayor's attention. [One more note from the editor: Not exactly a ringing endorsement of her behavior.]
Mayor Smith then stated that she believed that she had acted ethically, and in fact, she was simply exercising her first amendment rights to free speech. She also accused the speaker that had asked this question of a "drive by shooting" in making the allegation. (He had to leave after his remarks this evening in order to take his son to a football meeting.)
Regarding the petition..it was moved to accept it and to put it on the next Council agenda (May 3rd) for further discussion and to make a decision as to whether the provisions should be adopted or whether it should be put up for vote in the November general elections.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Click here to read the Keystone letter:
Yes, because this letter--in just a couple of sentences--perfectly lays out our concerns about the current drilling debate. It begins with the completely false statement that "...activists in Flower Mound [are] seeking to halt all forms of gas exploration and production within the Town limits."
And then the key part.."This activist group is organized and has the support of several thousand residents in the Town, most of which do not own their minerals and would not benefit from the drilling."
And this gets us to the heart of the matter. Should those "thousands" of Flower Mound residents who do not own their mineral rights--Wellington, parts of Bridlewood, the Sanctuary, and many other areas--just acquiesce so that the small percentage of residents, who have sold their mineral rights, can make a buck?
There is a price to be paid for bringing gas drilling and its assorted problems into our neighborhoods. Keystone and the mayor's friends are asking that those of us that either don't own our mineral rights, or those of us that do and choose not to sell them, to pay that price.
The letter ends with a plea from Keystone to vote for the Smith/Robinson/Webb slate of candidates.
I am hopeful that Smith/Robinson/Webb will disavow any affiliation with Keystone or support for this letter.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Dr. Colburn describes the hydraulic fracturing process and how contamination of drinking water can happen. There is also some footage from Split Estate and Weston Wilson, former EPA Environmental Engineer. Weston Wilson was a whistleblower who questioned the 2004 EPA study of hydraulic fracturing. The "Halliburton Loophole" was a result of this study. Click here to read a previous post about the EPA Study and Weston Wilson.
Dr. Colburn's following statements describes the fear we all have about this study.
I’m afraid they’re going to get into what is called the stakeholder process. They’re going to bring in people who know nothing about it, representing all the stakeholders, just like they did with the endocrine disruption panel that they put together in 1996.
But when you give it to the stakeholders, and you don’t give it to the scientists, you’re—we’ve got to separate the research that we’re doing behind all of this work that’s going on from those—the corporate-controlled decision makers.Click here to read the article and watch the video.
Click here to read the article.
Friday, April 16, 2010
The reality is on January 21st 600 people showed up at the Town Council meeting and voiced their opposition to the Centralized Collection Facility and current drilling regulations. Then 6000 residents signed the petition for a TEMPORARY moratorium. This moratorium would allow the town time to strengthen the Oil & Gas Ordinance to protect ALL Flower Mound residents and still allow mineral owners to benefit from their gas leases.
Click here to see who the radical is!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Of all people, these parents have the right to plead with Town leaders to act in a responsible manner regarding the health of their children.
Click here to read letter. Then click on letter to expand.
This month the Hillman Foundation would also like to give a special mention to Ladd Biro, who has reported on natural-gas drilling in Texas. Biro's op-eds in The Cross Timbers Gazette show how the massive drilling under way in the state has prompted a spate of community organizing. Read one of his pieces here.
Click here to read the article in the Sidney Hillman Foundation newsletter.
More info on Williams Transco Comer Compressor Station.
Click here to read the article and study by the Epidemiology and Biostatistics College of Public Health
The Comer booster station is on the state Hazardous Site Index because of soil contamination by PCBs, a chemical commonly used as coolants and lubricants in transformers.
Leaks from the station come from faulty pump seals, valves, flanges, compressors and turbines as well as emergency shutdowns and maintenance, the state Environmental Protection Division said.
Williams Transco's station in Comer is one of 44 compressor stations along the pipeline, which runs from Texas to New York.
The station emits an estimated 4,827 tons of pollutants into the air each year, according to the EPD, including 185 tons of formaldehyde.
Formaldehyde, according to the EPD, has been found to cause cancer in rats and may cause cancer in humans.
The pipeline also emits 4,156 tons of nitrogen oxides, which the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says are known to cause respiratory illness.
Here are a few more articles about natural gas compressors and formaldehyde.
El Paso Natural Gas Company-Tucson Compressor Station.
Rucki 15 Compressor Station Wyoming.
Scroll down to page 2 to see this compressor station was in violation for formaldehyde emissions.
Conoco Phillips fined for EPA violations n Colorado
ConocoPhillips will implement specialized equipment to cut the release of carbon monoxide and other air hazards such as formaldehyde from the compressor station engines, the EPA engineer said.
I found many more but you get the picture.
According the the National Cancer Institute, Formaldehyde exposure is associated with increased risk of cancers of the blood and lymphatic system. This includes leukemia.
Results from an ongoing study of workers employed at plants that used or produced formaldehyde continue to show a possible link between formaldehyde exposure and death from cancers of the blood and lymphatic system, particularly myeloid leukemia. The report, by researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, provides an additional 10 years of follow-up data to build on previous findings from this study. The report appeared online May 12, 2009, and in print May 20, 2009, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Looking at the Flower Mound Kleinfelder Air Quality Tests, I did not see where testing was done for formaldehyde. It seems that chemical and gas drilling go together.
Originally, the group was planning a candidate forum. Smith, Robinson and Webb felt that the Flower Mound Cares was a single issue group and declined the invitation. Flower Mound Cares decided to change the venue to a "meet and greet" in hopes to make Jody Smith, Gerald Robinson, and Bryan Webb more comfortable. Once again they declined.
Click here for original invite.
Click here for decline letter.
Click here for invite for new venue.
Article in Flower Mound Leader
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Toulene metabolite, butadiene metabolite, n-dimethylformamide metabolite were found in the residents. These three compounds are among the toxic substances that are monitored by the EPA. Some of the compounds were already detected in Dish air and water in previous testing by state investigators.
Of the 28 residents tested, none were children. Children are at a higher risk of absorbing chemicals than adults.
Click here to read Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe's article in the Denton Record Chronicle.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Residents and taxpayers who have raised the issue of conflicts of interest believe they are being disenfranchised by representatives who are supporting or opposing public policy for the benefit of themselves and drilling interests rather than in protection of the public’s health and welfare.
As a result, I’ve asked two attorneys whether or not New York State’s county, town, zoning and planning board members who have leased or are considering leasing their gas mineral rights should recuse themselves from not only voting on drilling issues but from participating in their Boards’ discussions of gas drilling issues. In response, both attorneys strongly recommended that the public should attend those local board meetings and ask each board member, on the record, to clarify the leased status of their and their family’s real property holdings.
In Franklin County, New York District Attorney addressed these concerns. Sure wish this would happen here in Texas.
Click here to read the post.
We want you, our supporters, to know regardless of the actions of others we make this pledge regarding campaign signs:
1.We will respect private property and only put up signs with permission.
2.We will not pressure any property owner to block our opponent’s signs.
3.We recognize HOAs are non-profits that cannot endorse candidates. We will not illegally and without permission put our signs on HOA property.
4.We will not steal nor damage our opponents’ signs nor will we encourage our supporters to steal or damage signs.
We have been asked repeatedly by supporters why they see fewer NFL signs in places along thoroughfares where they see other political signs. Much of this land is controlled by developers who have refused placement of our signs. They prefer the status quo to our commitment to the Master Plan and SmartGROWTH.
If you have a good location for large signs, please let our volunteer sign crew know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Melissa Northern, Al Fildoro and Steve Lyda
If other candidates have a sign pledge, we're happy to post it, as well. But just a note...it has to be an original work, not simply a copy of the N.F.L. pledge. We've seen too much of the "me too" stuff.
The sink hole grew to the size of two football fields. An injection well was determined to be the culprit. DeLoach Oil and Gas Wastewater Disposal Co. has been injecting drilling waste here since 1983.
It is just another example of the terrible oversight of the Texas Railroad Commission. The agency that is suppose to regulate the Oil & Gas Industry.
DeLoach declined to comment, but his former fluid manager, Lonnie Baines, told city attorneys that DeLoach employees seldom verified what trucks were hauling there.The Railroad Commission, which regulates the oil and gas industry in Texas, said operators are required to inspect a driver's paperwork.
During the 10 months Baines worked there before the collapse, he said “very rarely” was the paperwork checked even though the waste often burned his eyes and many of the trucks were marked “flammable.”
After the sink hole collapse, Mr. Baines was let go. The Texas Railroad Commission said they found no violations but again there was evidence of paperwork that showed DeLoach was often injecting double the amount of waste that his permit had allowed.
Mayor Lynn Wells said he had to cut down 100 trees after toxic fluids sprung up from the flooding underground his property. No sample was taken of the fluid by Mayor Wells or state officials before it soaked into the ground. The TRC said it found no contamination in the soil samples taken from Mayor Wells property. But while drilling a back up well for the town, the engineering company hired by the town, found contaminants that are not naturally occurring. It seems that Daisetta troubles may not be over.
If that were not enough, an engineering company drilling a backup well for the city detected traces of toluene and naphthalene in its water sample. Since these contaminants are not naturally occurring — and the naphthalene was at a level twice what the state of New Jersey would allow (Texas has no standard) — the engineer recommended abandoning the $93,000 project and drilling somewhere else.
Urban or rural, it is time for better regulations and ACCOUNTABILITY.
Click here for article.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Some residents decided they didn't like the way gas drilling was being done. They started demanding better drilling practices. They went out and bought signs that said "Say No To Urban Drilling." Then a gas leasing company named Cherokee Horn exercised their right to freedom of speech and offered signs that said "Naturally Gas is Good" to the mineral owners who signed leases. These lease holders didn't have to buy those signs though. In fact, they were paid to put those signs in their yard. As time went by, the "Say No" signs started to be stolen but miraculously, the "Gas is Good" signs didn't disappear.
Then came the FM Cares Petition Drive. Signs went up to call attention to the signing events. Those signs started to disappear. They were recovered in a car, parked in the Flower Mound High School parking lot. The nice organizers of from FM Cares Petition Drive decided not to press charges even though they had every right too. Since it was a teenager who had these signs in possession, they felt that the situation should be dealt with at of the home of the teen and privately.
Then the signs for Northern, Filidoro, and Lyda started to go up on many lawns in ALL of Flower Mound. NFL. Now those signs have started to disappear too. The Smith, Robinson and Webb signs seem to stay just where they are. In addition to that, some of the supporters have gone as far as having signs made up that seem to be un-ethical. Quoting Mr. Filidoro when I am sure he never said the following.
"I'm Gonna To Run This Town"
Mr. Stone, you should file a complaint with the ethics committee.
Many of the sites have been near highly populated neighborhoods. The problem is that this is a problem that seems to keep happening. If the past, very few actions have been taken against the drilling companies and their affiliates. So the result is repeat violations. It seems the TCEQ's "find and fix" program is not enough to keep the drilling companies in line. The find and fix may work if hefty fines are imposed. This is something that must be done.
It is all about accountability, something that seems to be lacking in the Barnett Shale.
It is alarming that even the TCEQ admits fugitive emissions are a problem.
"We found emissions from wells, condensate tanks, compressor stations" – just about every component of the Barnett Shale production system, said Wilma Subra, an environmental scientist helping the Denton County town of Dish monitor air pollution.
"There are toxic air emissions being released by the majority of the facilities that we have looked at."
Texas officials acknowledge that just about every Barnett Shale installation emits invisible air pollution.
Click here to read complete article.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Here is a few paragraph from the E & E news article.
"I don't think this study should only be about drinking water," said panel member Arpad Horvath, an engineering professor at the University of California, Berkeley. "In the spirit of the life-cycle analysis, it should not ignore other environmental and human health assessments. It should be looking at human health effects, water resource effects, air quality."
"Prairie Fest exists because of gas drilling. When drillers threatened to drill in the160 acre preserve called Tandy Hills, FWCanDo was born. The initial, guiding principle behind the founding of Prairie Fest in 2005 was to bring together all environmental and social action groups in north Texas under one big tent for one day - a chance for all the people involved to get to know each other and work together to make north Texas more livable. The art, music, wildflowers and green vendors are simply a way to get the public to pay attention - a little honey to attract them so we can deliver our message. On our 5th anniversary, Prairie Fest remains a push-back against all that is wrong in Fort Worth and north Texas. It has grown beyond my wildest dreams."
Today is 5% Day at Whole Foods Market in support of Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area and Prairie Fest. Please come out and support us if you can and don't miss Prairie Fest on April 24.
Community Support message from Whole Foods Market. Having trouble viewing this email? View it in your browser .
Wednesday, April 7th
5% Day to benefit
Tandy Hills Natural Area
Tandy Hills Natural Area is a 160-acre indigenous remnant of Fort Worth prairie located in the heart of Fort Worth. The land was obtained by the City of Fort Worth Parks Department in the 1960's and designated a "natural area" in 1987. Since 1990, the land has been managed by the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge.
Noted for its unusually complete collection of prairie flora, the T.H.N.A. has over 500 native plant species, making it a living demonstration of how most of Fort Worth and the Great Plains appeared in predevelopment times.
The annual Fort Worth Prairie Fest has become the perfect vehicle to showcase this untouched land. A free event for all ages, this outdoor festival features live local music, food, wildflower tours, plein air artists, a silent auction, and over 100 arts, crafts and green-living exhibitors.
Join us there Saturday, April 24th, from 10 am - 8 pm when Whole Foods Market will be a sponsor at the annual Prairie Fest.
The Arlington store
801 East Lamar Blvd.
Arlington, TX 76011
Copyright 2000-2010. Whole Foods Market IP, L.P.
Please add WholeFoodsMarket@communications.wholefoodsmarket.com to your address book to ensure delivery.
550 Bowie Street Austin, Texas 78703-4644
Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area
P.O. Box 470041
Fort Worth, TX 76147
"Keep it like it was."
This is how the Oil and Gas Industry changed her life forever.
When I heard of a Victim's network if I could have I would have jumped with glee. I am a victim of the oil and gas industry, mainly the chemical hydrogen sulfide or H2S or the rotten egg smell.
Here's my story and I hope that it will help someone else. I live in Upper Northern Michigan, or Cheboygan. I am now 52 years old and a mother. In 2004 our little town of Lewiston (where I had lived for 22 years) was the home of 3 150,00 barrel crude oil or liquefied natural gas tanks (owned by MarkWest) and with a it being pumped into the Enbridge pipeline after being transported and offloaded by trucks owned by Liquid Transport (since bought out). They hauled in loads of sour crude daily and one day (of many) there was an alleged illegal release of hydrogen sulfide. Lewiston was the victim even though people didn't realize it. Lewiston was downwind almost every day and we lived about 1/4 mile straight downwind from the facility. I became ill that day thus starting a nightmare I may live until I die.
I couldn't eat, stand, think, only my right leg was swollen. My well controlled asthma had suddenly taken a turn for the worse and still fight off bronchitis and pneumonia as often as twice a month. My immune system was almost wiped out. I couldn't urinate unless I pressed on my belly to see if I had to. My body was shutting down and after a few months of this my doctors (I have letters which the EPA also has) said I had to leave Lewiston and preferably the State or I would die. My husband was overwhelmed as he was affected, it changed his personality and his asthma became worse. My son suddenly developed atrial fibrillation and had to stop his heart twice. My daughter now has a skin rash that flares up. Neither children recognize the correlation but I do. I have seen too much not to.We (there was 4 of us) did tons of research and brought the Mark West Company out from Denver because they were worried what we had found. Nothing at that time but we had bought a share of stock from each of the 3 companies at that certain facility and contacted their main shareholders. We eventually found, on a holiday weekend, that they were trying to replace a tank and fortunately a DEQ officer happened to be around and found that they were indeed bringing loads of 75,000 parts per million of hydrogen sulfide when they were only allowed to bring in loads of 4 ppm.
Lewiston is now an oil and gas town with many sick people. We couldn't find an attorney anywhere in the country to take our case thus losing our statue of limitations. I lost everything,( eventually my husband and family) sold my house and just kept moving upwind from the wells, 100's of them going in on the Niagarian reef and Antrim shale that Lewiston sat on top of. My main point is that this exposure has made me chemically hypersensitive. The local paper mill, which we are rarely downwind from, caught fire yesterday. I am now married to a wonderful man who tries to deal with all my health issues. He stepped out of house yesterday, smelled the toxins, grabbed my mask and told me to put it on. It was too late though, it comes through the walls. I couldn't move I was in such pain and all my joints swelled, headache, worsening of asthma and just wanted to die.
Very few can understand what the gas and oil industry is doing to people. I fought them for 4 years, even after moving away, but now I educate. Some days I can hardly move, not knowing what chemical came my way, but go on. I have to carry a nebulizer with me wherever I go, a special filtering mask and pray I have a good day. There's my story with so much more to tell but I hope that this helps someone and you use it. I have become permanently disabled and had a "stroke" also from this and know the feeling of hopelessness.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Where: Studio Movie Grill
225 Merchants Row I-20 & Matlock
Arlington, Texas 76018 Ticket
Student - $12.00General - $15.00
Reserved Seating - $25.00
Movie Star - $50.00
6:00 - 7:00pm - Networking& order food and beverages
7:00 - 9:00pm - Program & Documentary Film - SPLIT ESTATE
9:00 - 10:00pm - Networking & refreshments
Join us for a special presentation of Split Estate, the award- winning documentary that presents a riveting look at a David vs. Goliath confrontation unfolding in communities through the United States and particularly in the north Texas Barnett Shale.
Click below to purchase tickets.
Use Pay Pal to purchase tickets >>>
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Her husband’s family, the McGills, purchased about 38,000 acres in 1935. Shortly after, the McGill brothers signed an oil and gas lease with Humble Oil Company (ExxonMobil). No one in the McGill family lived on the ranch until Elizabeth and her family moved there.
Soon they noticed how poorly maintained the land was. In fact Chevron and ExxonMobil are not doing much on the land. They tried to file a gross negligence lawsuit but nothing changed. She has this to say.
I am of the opinion that the bean counters that came up with the idea of keeping the proven reserves on the books, did not take into account what happens 10 years down the road when the infrastructure is left unused and un-maintained. Things will continue to leak, explode, fall over and catch on fire. People should be concerned because this ranch contains some of the most critical infrastructure in Texas -- all concentrated in one place.
This is a good example of what can happen years down the road after the oil and gas companies are gone. Ms. Burns deals with what is left behind everyday. Could this be in our future?
At least now I've got a better idea where a 4th term mayor and newly elected councilmembers Robinson and Webb would stand on the variance requests that are inevitable before Hillard can be drilled.
(And yes, I fully understand that the Mayor and the Council do not make rulings on the variance requests; however, they appoint the members of the O&G Board of Appeals and they do. Same thing.)
Thursday, April 1, 2010
XTO is asking for 10 variances!! Even those that have signed leases with XTO showed up demanding that the variances NOT be granted. The meeting went till early morning with the council tabling the decision and calling for another "Informational Meeting" in 2 weeks.
We have updated the info.
XTO is planning to drill a well within the 600 feet from a Corinth neighborhood. This would require a variance since their setback is 600 feet. There were 9 other variances requested.
Many residents showed up and voiced their opinions and concerns to the Mayor and Town Council. Those against granting the variances are residents directly affected by this well. Some had signed leases with XTO and are unhappy with the drill site. It appears that XTO did not keep certain promises.
Parts of Corinth is in the Lewisville Lake watershed. So drilling and placement of wells in this town could affect many other communities.
Corinth does not have the strong setbacks in their Ordinance that other towns like Flower Mound, Grapevine, Southlake and Colleyville have. Although it did appear they have a Mayor and Town Council that were willing to listen and ask the right questions of the drilling company. Let's see if they actually HEARD what the residents were saying.
The property owner signed a lease with Williams Production back in 2008. We have to assume that Williams is the applicant.
This area is just over the Flower Mound border. Remember one of the points in Williams' pledge from their website?
Limit our new drilling locations – based on our acreage, we will not expand our drilling pads eastward in the town of Flower Mound beyond an existing pad site we have just south of 1171, near Lusk Lane.
It is hard to tell how close these wells will be to the new apartment complex. The developer better get those apartments built and rented before the rigs go up. Lewisville has shorter setback distances than Flower Mound.
Watch out Lewisville, if Williams doesn't get to put the Centralized Collection Facility in Flower Mound, you may be next on the list.