Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Titan/Hilliard Field Update

We have received some phone calls and emails regarding the recent activity on Hilliard Field. Here is what we know.

Titan is in the process of installing an enclosed gas lift compressor and a dehydration unit. The compressor will be natural gas fired.

Click here for a description of different types of compression.

According to the Oil and Gas Glossary, to meet pipeline requirements, the water vapor in natural gas must be removed. This is why dehydration is needed.

We recently went to the Texas Railroad Commission mapsite to see if any production has been posted for the Titan/Hilliard site. As of today, no production has been recorded. Many articles we have read stated that gas lift can be brought in to increase production in lower producing gas wells, extra tight formations, and older gas wells. We have no idea which of these may be the case at the Hilliard site.

According to the town of Flower Mound Environmental Services Department, The gas lift compressor may be operated intermittently as needed. At this time, there is no way of knowing how long the gas lift will be necessary. The town will be monitoring the site to make sure Titan is in compliance with our noise level regulations. If you have a complaint about noise, call the town. Flower Mound's Oil and Gas Inspector will be inspecting for compliance with all applicable Town requirements every month. In between these monthly inspections, our inspector will routinely visit sites, performing “spot checks”. A special thank you to our Oil and Gas Inspector for taking the time to quickly answer all the questions submitted. If you have a concern,  or question, we encourage you to contact our Inspector at jonathan.powell@flower-mound.com.

The last issue we have received emails on is sometimes residents smell natural gas when passing by the Titan/Hilliard site. It has been confirmed that Titan has been treating the gas with Mercaptan (natural gas odor) since the end of October. We are not sure if that is what residents are smelling.

Most important, if you smell any odors or experience any health effects, call the Town AND contact TCEQ immediately. The information for TCEQ is on the right hand side of the blog.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Williams Rule 37 against LISD Hearing Next Week

The hearing for the Williams Rule 37 Exception against LISD (Lewisville Independent School District) will be held next Friday, December 16th, at 9:00 am.

As of now, it appears LISD is still going through with the protest even though they voted at their last Trustee Meeting in November to solicit bids to sign gas leases near two of their properties. Both properties are located in Lewisville. One of the sites sits right on the Flower Mound/Lewisville border.

The hearing is for the site near the Flower Mound border.

Click here for info on the TRC hearing.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Williams Rule 37 Hearing Against Town of Flower Mound Postponed

William's attorney has requested a postponement of the December 14th Rule 37 Exception hearing against the Town of Flower Mound. Attorney John Camp claimed postponing the hearing was necessary to prepare evidence for the hearing. The Town of Flower Mound has agreed to the postponement. Both parties must agree on a new hearing date by December 21st, if they cannot agree by then, the Texas Railroad Commission Examiner will set a new hearing date for them.

The assigned legal examiner is the same one that heard both Titan cases.

Click here for the TRC document.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Natural Gas Market Gets Drilled, Titan Well Likely in the Red

Natural gas prices hit their lowest level since late 2009 in the last few days dipping as low as $2.56/mcf.  Due to new and more easily accessible liquid rich shale plays in Texas and across the nation, the natural gas industry is fast becoming a victim of their own success. 

Although the break-even price for natural gas development in the Barnett Shale varies from company to company, the general consensus seems to be $5 is the minimum for larger operators to hope to make a profit.  Some smaller operators with less overhead can achieve profitability at a lower price point. 

Based on sworn testimony and submitted exhibits at recent Railroad Commission hearings in Austin, it is possible at current levels, Titan’s 1H well on the Hilliard South Unit may not be profitable. Click here to see calculations and assumptions.  At $3.50/mcf, the well loses roughly $460,000. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

LISD To Discuss and Consider Signing Gas Leases

The LISD Board of Trustees is asking for the opportunity to seek proposals for signing gas leases with Titan Operating and Williams.

The Regular meeting is this coming Monday, November 14th, and will begin at 6:00 PM in the Bolin Administrative Center, 1565 W. Main Street, Lewisville, Texas. Immediately after opening, the Board of Trustees will convene in Closed Session and will return to Open Session at 7:00 PM.

Click here for the agenda.

If you read the action item, it appears they may be leaning towards signing. Of course, indicating that there will be drilling anyway and they will most likely lose the Rule 37 exceptions currently being requested with the Texas Railroad Commission. We have heard that line before.

This does not include signing a lease for the LISD properties near the Hilliard Pad Site. Using the excuse that drilling will happen any way is not the case at Hilliard. Without the leasing of many of the properties near Hilliard, a significant amount of wells could be prevented from being drilled.


Click here for the action item.

If you live near one of these properties, NOW is the time to voice your opinions. SHOW UP and contact the Board of Trustees.

Click here for the contact info.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

"Good Neighbor" Williams Receives Penalty and Violation From EPA

One of our "good neighbors', Williams received a penalty and will be forced to reduce their emissions from gas production sites in Colorado. The EPA also issued a penalty and violation to Conoco Phillips.

Hello EPA, we need you here in Flower Mound. In the past 2 months, there have been close to 20 odor and health complaints to the TCEQ for gas drilling production sites here in FloMo.  Over 90 percent of those have been at a Williams gas production site!!!!!!!

The TCEQ can't seem to find anything yet we have residents complaining of health effects ranging from nose bleeds, respiratory problems, dizziness, headaches, digestive issues etc.

Here is a press release we received from the EPA.

Agreements with Williams and ConocoPhillips resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations on Southern Ute Reservation
Companies to pay penalties, improve emission controls, and conserve gas at production facilities
Contact: Joshua Rickard, 303-312-6460; Richard Mylott, 303-312-6654


(Denver, Colo. – November 2, 2011) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced agreements with two gas production companies resolving alleged violations of the Clean Air Act on the Southern Ute Reservation in Colorado’s San Juan Basin. The agreements, outlined in separate consent decrees with Williams and ConocoPhillips, will reduce emissions of air pollutants from a gas plant and compressor stations.

“These agreements will ensure that steps are taken to monitor and reduce emissions of harmful volatile organic compounds from several production facilities on the Southern Ute Reservation,” said Mike Gaydosh, director of EPA’s enforcement program in Denver. “These and other air pollutants can contribute to unhealthy air quality and impair visibility.”

Under an agreement with Houston-based ConocoPhillips, the company will pay a penalty of $198,000 to resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations at the Southern Ute Compressor Station. The station removes water and compresses natural gas for transportation through high pressure gas pipelines. The violations were discovered during a self-audit conducted by ConocoPhillips and disclosed to EPA.

ConocoPhillips will also conduct mitigation projects at the station, including the replacement of "high-bleed" pneumatics with "low-bleed" or "no-bleed" pneumatics at well sites that feed into the station. In addition, the company will conduct an infrared camera survey of the compressor station to identify leaking components and will retrofit a compressor engine with an oxidation catalyst to reduce emissions.

Measures taken as a result of the settlement will reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds by 137 tons per year, hazardous air pollutants like formaldehyde and benzene by 90 tons per year, and carbon monoxide by 33 tons per year. These measures will also conserve 5.5 million cubic feet of gas annually, enough to heat 80 homes.

In a separate agreement with EPA, Williams, a natural gas production company based in Tulsa, Okla., has agreed to pay a $50,000 penalty and expand a leak detection program at the Ignacio Gas Plant on the Southern Ute Reservation. The settlement resolves alleged Clean Air Act violations at the gas plant and the Ute E compressor station. Violations were discovered through inspections conducted by EPA.

In addition to the penalty, Williams has agreed to implement an infrared camera leak-detection and repair program to identify fugitive emissions sources. The expected annual emission reductions associated with these measures include approximately 14,000 lbs of volatile organic compounds.

The Ignacio Gas Plant gathers and processes field gas for transportation. The Ute E compressor station compresses field gas for transportation through a gathering line.

The facilities affected by both agreements are located in the San Juan Basin near Durango, Colo., within the exterior boundaries of the Southern Ute Indian Reservation.

Help EPA protect our nation's land, air and water by reporting violations: http://www.epa.gov/tips/




Monday, October 24, 2011

Spilliams....Repeat Offender


There has been yet another spill out in West Flower Mound at a Williams site. 

According to information from the town of Flower Mound, (see page 8-9 of drilling ordinance) this is the 6th spill at a Williams gas drilling pad site "REPORTED" to the town. Of course it rained very hard on Saturday night and who knows if any of the spill spread from the site.

Let's go back to the summer of 2009 when many West Flower Mound residents came to Town Hall professing their love and admiration for Williams. The cause of the latest spill? 
"The spill occurred due to a failed weld in a line transporting fluids." 

The West Flower Mound residents begged for the town to allow Williams the opportunity to run waste water pipelines from their pad sites to a Centralized Collection Facility. Some of us argued that accidents happen like.....welds failing! Williams is NOT a "good neighbor". In fact if you and I continued to spill toxic waste, we would be heavily fined or in jail!!!

But folks, it isn't just spills. In a little over a year and a half, close to 90 odor and health complaints have been made to the TCEQ just in Flower Mound alone. Every one of those complaints has been at or near gas drilling production sites. A majority of those complaints have been near Williams sites.
Cancer rates in the Barnett Shale Counties are on the rise. 


If Texas Railroad Commission is wondering why so many people are refusing to sign leases resulting in Rule 37 applications and Forced Pooling applications, they need to look no further than our backyards. Contamination, air quality issues and health issues being reported by the citizens living on the Barnett Shale are clearly being overlooked. Many feel our state agencies responsible for regulating the industry are not doing their job. Not signing a lease has become the only way residents can "try" to protect themselves. 

Good neighbors or the neighbors from hell?
I

Friday, October 7, 2011

Could LISD Allow Hilliard And Other Sites Near Schools To Become Another Scenic Rd.?

Just this week, news surfaced about Titan Operating filing a request for a Rule 37 exception to come within 47 feet of LISD's Killough Campus (located near McGee and 407 in Lewisville). That isn't a shock but what is alarming is Titan is still actively making offers to LISD for leasing their land. This article in the Flower Mound Leader says 1 million and an post on Whosplayin mentioned 1 1/2 million.


Did you know that your children's health and safety may be sold for 1 to 1 1/2 million dollars? 

We don't know about anyone else but we can't think of an amount that would be worth it. It would be thoughtless and careless to allow more gas drilling near our schools. It has been highly publicized that LISD has been approached over and over again to sign gas leases. In fact, LISD signed gas leases in 2007 but luckliy those leases expired. Are some of our elected School Board Members considering signing again?

We already know that not signing a lease is the best protection from gas drilling occurring near our schools and homes. Now with the supersized padsites, the less signed leases can mean less wells. It has been proven over and over again. This has been debated before. 

In some cases drilling may be already going on but with more leased acreage comes more wells, more tanks, more compressors. With all this equipment comes more emissions and traffic.  

It becomes a big pot of toxic soup. If you don't believe us just drive out to Scenic Dr. and 1171 in West Flower Mound. 


Frankly, the fact that people are worried about LISD "leaving money on the table" or "getting screwed out of royalties", is sickening and insulting by putting greed before our children. The oil and gas industry really doesn't care about our children. If they really wanted to help out Texas schools, they wouldn't be requesting 185 million dollars in "tax refunds" that will require almost half of the refund money come from Texas school funds.

If LISD does NOT sign a lease for the property adjacent to the south of Hilliard Field, NO additional drilling can occur to the South or South East. We believe that would eliminate 5-6 wells based on a 20-24 well estimate given to the Flower Mound Oil and Gas Board of Appeals in May 2010. We also know that many residents to the East, North East and South West have not signed leases. That will eliminate even more wells or at least force Titan to apply for many more Rule 37 exceptions. 

Do you want this near your child's school?

LISD must continue to protest the Rule 37 like the town of Flower Mound did in the Rule 37 request by Williams. Williams ended up withdrawing their Rule 37 request. 

This is a ploy to get LISD to sign leases. LISD needs to stand up to the gas companies! 


Speak up now before it is too late. 

Go to the LISD website and find out the dates and times for the School Board Meetings

Contact the School Board Members and let them know how you feel.

If you are interested in getting the word out to your friends and neighbors by an organized effort, please contact us at  stopthedrilling@gmail.com

Thursday, October 6, 2011

When Doctors Are Concerned, We Should All Be Concerned

"More than 250 pediatricians, family practitioners, endocrinologists, oncologists and other doctors, along with the Medical Societies of at least seven upstate counties and the regional office of the American Academy of Pediatricians, wrote to Governor Cuomo, warning that the state of New York has failed to analyze public health impacts of hydraulic fracturing in its rush to approve permits for drilling."

Click here for info and to read the letter.


Those of us living on the Barnett Shale have been asking why comprehensive health studies were never performed before all the drilling and fracking begin close to 10 years ago. Of course, our Texas Department of Health Services likes to make excuses for all the increase of health issues in north Texas.

Click here for map of the massive increase of wells since 2003 in the Barnett Shale.

Dallas Citizen Group Releases Recommendations For Gas Drilling

Dallas resident Raymond Crawford presented the Dallas City Council with recommendations put together by local citizen groups. They are quite impressive. Great job Dallas.

We will keep our fingers crossed that the Dallas Drilling Task Force and City Council accept and vote to implement all of the recommendations.
Click here to read the recommendations.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Titan Operating Tells TRC OneThing, Tells Local Press Something Else

In a letter to the Texas Railroad Commission, dated May 20, 2011, Titan Operating stated they would like the TRC to expedite their Rule 37 ruling because "at this time, however, the Commission's decision on the Hilliard South Unit application is more urgently needed to allow Titan an opportunity to satisfy it's lease and conservation obligations".

However, in an article dated August 12, 2011 for the Flower Mound leader, Titan"s Mr. Schumacher said Titan does not have any expiring leases resulting from the Rule 37 process.                                                                                                         
So why the urgency if no leases were going to expire?

As of today, the well might not be producing so "held-by-production" may not apply. 

Which statement is accurate? You can't have it both ways Titan.

Get Ready For More Birdie And Butterfly Ads

Yes, now Conoco Phillips is launching a drill baby drill campaign.

It seems all the real life stories of contamination, health issues, and decreased property values are proving to be a huge obstacle for the gas industry to overcome.

Click here to read article.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Oil Refineries may win. Texas schools could lose.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality may give oil refineries giant tax refunds. Yes, and half of that tax refund money would come from Texas Schools. It sounds unbelievable but it could happen. If the tax refunds are granted, the total could be as much as 135 million dollars!!!!

If a three-member commission appointed by Gov. Rick Perry grants the refunds, nearly half the money would be taken from schools.

Disgusting....

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sue Thy Neighbor?

Living on the Barnett Shale, it is common to blame the gas drilling company. In fact, many residents have gone as far as suing gas companies. But suing your neighbor for signing a lease and allowing industrial activity that results in air pollution, health issues, noise, and lower property values?
Click here to read an interesting article about it.

One line in this article didn't surprise us at all.....
states like Texas and West Virginia don't favor such lawsuits

We do know that gas drilling activity does effect health and the air we breathe, that has been well documented in the local news, on this site and many others in the area. 

We have reported on gas drilling and property values in the past.
Click here and here.
It is a very good question. Should those that sign leases be held accountable when there is a problem like a leak, a spill, a fire, people getting sick or loss of property values?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Gas Executive Sounds Warning On Cementing Of Gas Wells

This isn't the first time a gas executive has expressed concern about cement failure for well casings. We have posted info on this before. Lee Fuller, Vice President of the Independent Petroleum Association of America admits that even with best practices that contamination may occur. He said the cement casing will deteriorate over time, wells will need to be re-worked periodically and even when it done the cement may be flawed and there may still be failures.


Now Paul Smith, Executive Vice President of North American Operations for Talisman Energy gave this warning during a speech to industry group Marcellus Shale Coalition.


Smith said....
However, industry must recognize that reported cases of gas migration into water tables can occur as the result of ineffective well design and cementing practices.”


Click here to read a great piece on cracking cement.

Since we don't have any long term studies, how do we really know what the life of a "cement casing job" is?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

MORE VARIANCE ABUSE

Last night the town council voted 3 to 2 allowing Mr. Hilliard a variance to put up a power pole and over 300 feet of power lines on his property. The voting went as follows for (Hayden, Stephenson, and Wise) and 2 against (Filidoro and Lyda).

The town requires all power lines be buried BY ORDINANCE. It is mostly for AESTHETIC reasons but safety and disruption of service during storms or high winds are a concern too.

All existing overhead utilities, save and except transmission facilities identified herein below, and all new utility extensions shall be placed underground in conjunction with the development or redevelopment of a property, subject to the following provisions:
(1) Each of the utility companies shall be responsible for developing administrative policies and cost reimbursement procedures for the installation and extension of their underground utilities. Nothing in this section shall prohibit or restrict any utility company from recovering the difference in cost of overhead facilities and underground facilities in accordance with the provisions of such utility company's approved tariff. No utility company shall be required to begin construction of underground facilities unless and until the customer, owner, developer and/or party requesting such facilities has made arrangements satisfactory to the specific utility company for the payment of such difference between the cost of overhead utilities and underground facilities.
(2) All electrical, telephone, data transmission, and cable television support equipment (transformers, amplifiers, switching devices, etc.) necessary for underground installation shall be pedestal- and/or pad-mounted or placed underground, and the difference in cost of such facilities shall be paid to the installing utility in accordance with provisions established in subsection (a)(1).
(3) In those cases where temporary overhead service is necessary (e.g., emergency repairs, construction field offices, etc.) these installations shall not be in service for a period exceeding six months.
(4) Transmission facilities as indicated in exhibit A are not required to be placed underground upon the development or redevelopment of the properties containing such facilities.
(5) Exceptions to the standards contained in this section may be granted by the town council subsequent to a public hearing scheduled upon request of the owner or developer.

Click here to watch video from last night's meeting. Go to Item 11.

There are already enough power poles and power lines on this property (on 2499). Why do we need anymore? The only way Mr. Hilliard would have to bury power lines in the future is if his home and the land it sits on is included in a new development. So basically it could be there forever. As if the giant pad site, dust, diesel smoke, trucks etc on Hilliard field wasn't aesthetically ugly enough!

Maybe some feel this is trivial but one of the biggest complaints in the past has been about the consequences of variances. It was a very important issue with the Oil and Gas Advisory Board. The constant granting of variances, or variance abuse as we like to call it, continues to weaken all our ordinances.

A few questions:
We realize some of you don't care about appearance but what about the danger of MORE power lines being near a natural gas production site?
and
Isn't it variance abuse that has created most of the gas drilling mess here in Flower Mound?

Here are just few articles out of many articles about fires from power lines and issues with down power lines.
Click here.
Click here. During one of the many storms we experience there were numerous calls for down power lines.
In addition, the fire department received several calls for fire alarms and down power lines during the storm.
Click here. One more example.
A fallen power line apparently started one Oklahoma blaze

Many homes and schools are near this site. Just think about a fast moving brush fire.
We could go on but you get the picture.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Williams Withdraws One Rule 37, Keeps 3 Others In Play

Williams recently withdrew one Rule 37 action pending against the Town of Flower Mound on the Ace unit located in Lewisville, but still has 3 more pending completely contained within Flower Mound borders, all on the Bob Smith B East lease.  Two of these are against individual homeowners (Wells 5H and 6H) and the final Rule 37 action (Well 8H) is against the Town of Flower Mound. 
The town, as in the first withdrawn Rule 37, has filed a protest opposing the filing.  This begs the question, why not withdraw from ALL Rule 37’s Williams? 
If the rule is good enough to follow and abide by in Lewisville, why not in Flower Mound as well?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Houseplants can imporove indoor air

We have found many studies on the benefits of houseplants. The best one is a NASA conducted back in the 80's. This study showed some plants can remove benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, carbon monoxide and other chemicals from indoor air. Some plants Click here and here to see other studies and lists of the top air purifying plants. Some plants are more effective than others by removing up to 90% of chemicals in the air!

Since fracking is about to begin at Hilliard, this may be a decorative way to keep your indoor air clean. (No, we are not joking.) Many stores are having sales on plants and pots. This weekend we hit Garden Ridge, Calloways, Walmart, Lowes, and Home Depot. Every store had 50% or buy one get one. We found some great deals.

We also had a permanent HEPA filter added to our air conditioning and heating units.

If you want to see what we might be experiencing in the coming weeks, drive to FM 3040 and Ace Rd. in Lewisville. Or better yet, watch this video.Don't forget the TCEQ odor and air complaint system located on the right side of the blog.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Flower Mound and surrounding communities breast cancer rates on the rise

The Denton Record Chronicle published this article about the rising numbers of breast cancer in communities on the Barnett Shale. It will be interesting to see what the State of Texas does with this information. Just to jog some memories, Back in early 2010, the State of Texas did their own cancer cluster study for leukemia, thyroid cancer, lymphoma, and breast cancer here in Flower Mound. We all remember what came of that......

After finding an elevated number of breast cancer in Flower Mound, the Texas Department of Health Services said the breast cancer result could be due to overall population increases in Flower Mound and the likelihood that women in this area are more frequently screened for breast cancer. 

Just to clarify this excuse, if a woman doesn't get screened and doesn't know she has breast cancer, she is less likely to die from it? Wow, our insurance companies would be happy to hear that.

Frack Schedule Set For Titan/Hilliard Site in Flower Mound

The town of Flower Mound has posted the fracking schedule for the Hilliard Property.
Fracking is scheduled to begin September 12th and end September 27th.

Click here to review.

Report all suspicious odors and health issues (even if no odor is present)
TCEQ online form:
TCEQ toll-free at 888-777-3186
TCEQ e-mail cmplaint@tceq.state.tx.us
 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

EPA Proposed New Air-Emission Rules For Oil and Gas Drilling

The EPA has released their proposed New Air-Emission Rules for Oil and Gas Drilling to the Federal Register. This is the time to comment. We have posted some links below for you to read the proposed rules and a link to the page for commenting.

If you have a whole lot of time, click here for proposed rules doc.

If you just want the important stuff, click here for the fact sheet.

Click here for a nice EPA presentation.

Click here to read the Regulatory Impact Analysis.

And the most important of all....click here to submit a comment.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Does the TCEQ know their @$$ from a hole in the ground?

So much going on here in Barnett Shale country. We don't even know where to begin.


There is something in the air in Argyle and Bartonville. Dibromoethane or EDB, a known carcinogen, has been found present in air in these communities 6 times since December 2010. It seems that the TCEQ is in denial. Residents and ABC Alliance members are asking for the EPA to conduct an investigation asap. Below is a paragraph from the post.


The Alliance would like an immediate investigation done by the EPA to determine the source of the EDB and provide for its elimination. It seems like a reasonable request, but now TCEQ state investigators are denying that their scientific testing techniques were ever scientific and it is possible that the detected carcinogen was never detected at all. One mistake in testing we could understand, or maybe even two mistakes in detection. But this carcinogen was detected SIX TIMES.

The Denton Record Chronicle reports on this issue.


This community is no stranger to health effects from living near gas drilling production facilities. Click here to read some of the health issues documented by the residents in Argyle and Bartonville.

Texas Sharon talks about the TCEQ's admission that they lack the science to be sure what we are breathing long-term. And asks a good question. "Is the TCEQ trying to preempt a scandal?"

Another Texas agency failing the citizens. Oh and our  Governor wants a moratorium on all regulations across this country!!! We are in trouble folks.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

You may want to keep the TCEQ complaint info handy

We may be getting fracked again here in FloMo so don't forget to keep the TCEQ odor and health complaint info handy.

In 2010, we found close to 60 odor and health complaints on the TCEQ website made by residents right here in Flower Mound. No violations have been issued to date. We understand it can be disappointing at times. Our advice is keep calling and reporting. Even if the odor or symptoms go away by the time the TCEQ shows up. Log times, symptoms, and description of odors.

Persistence pays off. Just this year, the TCEQ issued fines for air quality violations against an energy company drilling on the Barnett Shale. In one of the articles below, it states that the fines issued in March of this year were the first ever on the BS. Recently another was issued.

Click here and here to read about these cases.

The TCEQ complaint info is located on the right had side of the blog.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Gas and Oil shale drilling coming to a neighborhood near you?

Gas and Oil Shale drilling coming to a neighborhood near you? Click here for 3 good maps of shales in North America.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Want to give them a piece of your mind?

We have received emails asking us if letting the Texas Railroad Commission know how you feel about Rule 37's is okay. You always have the right to voice your concerns.

Here is some info we would like to share.

If your letter is general in nature and you just want to voice your opinion on the Rule 37 process, you may want to send your email to:
Chairman Elizabeth Ames Jones: commissioner.elizabethjones@rrc.state.tx.us

If the letter is specifically about the Flower Mound/Titan Rule 37's, you may want to send an email to:
Colin Lineberry: colin.lineberry@rrc.state.tx.us

Please Note:  
If you may be a part of a Rule 37 in the future and plan to file a formal protest to appear at a hearing in Austin if needed, let the Commission know.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

One more danger with gas drilling

Read the post from a gas and oil blog. We thought this info might be important.

http://scrapper.media.mit.edu/wiki/Talk:WellWatch

Hello: My name is Carl L. Mc Williams, I AM married to Karen and we live in Garfield County, Colorado. There are over 10,000 active CH4 (methane) gas wells inside Garfield County, Colorado.

I spent one full year working on these CH4 wells. I was employed by LONKAR US LTD. a Canadian company and I worked on a "swabbing rig". We were not part of the exploration (drilling). We serviced existing and producing natural gas wells. A swabbing rig is a "workover-rig" and our purpose was to remove water from the well that had stopped the flow of natural gas in a producing well. It turns out that the water we were removing was residual "fracing" water and we were never informed of the benzene and other chemicals that exist in this "production water". In March of 2008, my swabbing rig was working on a well site where the gas company had reused the same "fracing" fluids in an attempt to save money. The problem with that is the reusing of "fracing" fluids causes the manifestation of H2S, (Hydrogen Sulfide Gas) which, in doses above 50 ppm for 30 minutes is deadly. My co-worker died and I spent three months in workers-comp recovery. My employer and the billion dollar energy company basically lied and covered-up their gross negligence in ordering my co-worker and I to expose ourselves to the deadly H2S without proper safety equipment, such as supplied-air-respirators. Federal OSHA fined my employer. I blew the whistle to OSHA and was fired for doing so. My whistleblower case with OSHA is still pending and I have been black-balled from the industry.

That said, I do want to bring to your attention a very deadly practice that is taking place on every "fracing" job site. "Fracing" uses silica sand in the "fracing mix". The truck drivers, pulling "sand-cans" (box-car-size-trailers) full of silica sand arrive at the well site and using high pressure pumps unload from the "sand-cans" the silica sand into the "fracing tanks". During this process there is created a silica sand dust cloud that is much more dangerous than asbestos. Just as cut glass will lacerate the flesh of your arm, this silica sand dust is an airborne particulate, that when breathed into the lungs will cause lung damage that is a quicker death than asbestos exposure and extremely painful for the victim. I informed Federal OSHA of this danger to Americans but nothing has happened from OSHA yet.

Therefore, I am informing you folks. The gas drilling industry has an expression: "WELL-FIELD-TRASH". The corporate officers of the natural gas industry considers all of their well workers to be "TRASH". The worker safety-protection measures on these gas well sites is non-existent. Pass the word about the silica sand dust these Americans are breathing.

Carl Mc Williams Silt Mesa, Colorado,
email: mcwilliams@balance-energy.us

Thursday, August 4, 2011

RRC Examiner rules for Titan in Rule 37’s – Big Government crushes the little guy, again.

The Texas Railroad Commission has issued a pfd (Proposal for Decision) which paves the way for Titan Operating to take the minerals of 17 Flower Mound homeowners.  The only step left is for Commission itself to bless the decision, a near certainty.  You know, the commission whose chairperson’s Husband and Daddy run Venus Exploration.  With objectivity like that on legal issues, well, let’s just say it would never fly in a REAL legal setting, or on any city council, county government, or any other sort of governing body.  

FMCAUD is proud to have helped these 17 Flower Mound homeowners stand up against this heavy handed government intrusion and theft of property these homeowners had legal title to.  We should all be outraged when government takes anything from an individual.  It is a road to less Democracy and less individual rights.

FMCAUD looks forward to protesting the next 20-22 probable Rule 37 hearings in Austin on this site and any other site in the Metroplex Titan feels the desire to steal private property from.

 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

SEC asking Industry for records on claims of long term productivity

The SEC wants proof that gas wells will continue to produce for decades. Last night while channel surfing, I came across a segment on Fox News. The host mentioned how the New York Times had a reporter out to get the industry. Well sounds like that reporter, Ian Urbina, may have been dead on with his article about the future of natural gas.
Texas Sharon gives more details. Click here to go to her new website.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Industry downplays benefit of tighter ozone standards

It didn't take long for the industry to get their panties in a bunch about the EPA's proposed air pollution standards for gas and oil production. Anyone surprised the industry is trying to downplay the EPA statements about the benefits of tighter ozone requirements? It's all about money folks! 

They don't think our health has value.

Click here for the article.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

EPA Proposes Air Pollution Standards for Oil and Gas Production

Hallelujah. There is hope for cleaner air in the future!!
See press release from the EPA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE



July 28. 2011


EPA Proposes Air Pollution Standards for Oil and Gas Production


Cost-effective, flexible standards rely on operators' ability to capture and sell natural gas that currently escapes, threatens air quality


WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed standards to reduce harmful air pollution from oil and gas drilling operations. These proposed updated standards - which are being issued in response to a court order - would rely on cost-effective existing technologies to reduce emissions that contribute to smog pollution and can cause cancer while supporting the administration’s priority of continuing to expand safe and responsible domestic oil and gas production. The standards would leverage operators' ability to capture and sell natural gas that currently escapes into the air, resulting in more efficient operations while reducing harmful emissions that can impact air quality in surrounding areas and nearby states.

"This administration has been clear that natural gas is a key component of our clean energy future, and the steps announced today will help ensure responsible production of this domestic energy source," said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. "Reducing these emissions will help cut toxic pollution that can increase cancer risks and smog that can cause asthma attacks and premature death - all while giving these operators additional product to bring to market.”


Today’s proposal would cut smog-forming volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from several types of processes and equipment used in the oil and gas industry, including a 95 percent reduction in VOCs emitted during the completion of new and modified hydraulically fractured wells. This dramatic reduction would largely be accomplished by capturing natural gas that currently escapes to the air and making that gas available for sale through technologies and processes already in use by several companies and required in some states.


Natural gas production in the U.S. is growing, with more than 25,000 new and existing wells fractured or re-fractured each year. The VOC reductions in the proposal are expected to help reduce ozone nonattainment problems in many areas where oil and gas production occurs. In addition, the VOC reductions would yield a significant environmental benefit by reducing methane emissions from new and modified wells. Methane, the primary constituent of natural gas, is a potent greenhouse gas - more than 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Today’s proposed changes also would reduce cancer risks from emissions of several air toxics, including benzene.


EPA’s analysis of the proposed changes, which also include requirements for storage tanks and other equipment, show they are highly cost-effective, with a net savings to the industry of tens of millions of dollars annually from the value of natural gas that would no longer escape to the air. Today’s proposal includes reviews of four air regulations for the oil and natural gas industry as required by the Clean Air Act: a new source performance standard for VOCs from equipment leaks at gas processing plants; a new source performance standard for sulfur dioxide emissions from gas processing plants; an air toxics standard for oil and natural gas production; and an air toxics standard for natural gas transmission and storage.


EPA is under a consent decree requiring the agency to sign a proposal by July 28, 2011 and take final action by Feb. 28, 2012. As part of the public comment period, EPA will hold three public hearings, in the Dallas, Denver and Pittsburgh areas. Details on the hearings will be announced soon.


More information: http://epa.gov/airquality/oilandgas/

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Barnett Shale Map shows massive increase of wells drilled.

From 1997 to 2009, the number of natural gas wells has grown from a few hundred to over 10,000. Included in the article is an animated map showing the massive increase of wells on the Barnett Shale.

The black dots on the map are the vertical wells.You can see that most of the wells drilled before 2003 were vertical. The red dots indicate horizontal wells. The number of the horizontal wells grew after 2003.

Be sure to click on the map.
Click here for article.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Flower Mound Town Council, the Oil and Gas Advisory Board and the Petition Ordinance: The Real Facts

The email was forwarded to us by Flower Mound Council Member Filidoro

The Flower Mound Town Council, the Oil and Gas Advisory Board and the Petition Ordinance: The Real Facts

In the spring of 2010, more than 6,000 Town residents signed a petition and submitted a draft ordinance for the Flower Mound Town Council to consider a moratorium on permits for centralized natural gas facilities and natural gas pipelines. After more than a year of detailed review by the Town’s Oil and Gas Advisory Board and the Town Council, on July 18, 2011, the Town Council adopted comprehensive new ordinances addressing natural gas drilling in the Town as well as new standards for natural gas pipelines. Additionally, the Town Council repealed the centralized natural gas facilities zoning ordinance, approved by the previous council in January 2010. Despite the sweeping new changes to the face of natural gas drilling operations in the Town, over the last several weeks, a few Town residents have complained that the Flower Mound Town Council was not “committed to executing the petition mandate” and that last year’s petition was “hijacked” and “used for political agendas.” An objective review of the facts shows, however, that every portion of the 2010 petition was fully honored and that the current Town Council’s actions in all respects were in compliance with the petition ordinance.

What specifically did the 2010 petition ordinance mandate, and how did this Town Council respond?


1. Section 2(A) of the petition ordinance provided that “the acceptance and processing of applications for oil and gas and/or produced water pipeline permits . . . are hereby temporarily suspended, effective immediately upon passage of this Ordinance.” Similarly, Section 2(B) of the petition ordinance provided that “the acceptance and processing of applications for Specific Use Permits . . . for the construction of any “Centralized Natural Gas Compression Facility,” “Centralized Natural Gas Lift Facility,” or “Centralized Natural Gas Produced Water Storage Facility” . . . are hereby temporarily suspended, effective immediately upon passage of this Ordinance.”

The Town Council’s Response: On June 7, 2010, the Town Council approved Ordinance No. 38-10, which ordinance adopted the petition ordinance in its entirety, including the moratoriums referenced in Sections 2(A) and 2(B) of the petition ordinance.


2. Section 2(C) of the petition ordinance provided that “the aforesaid suspensions shall continue in effect until the completion of the review process and Council action upon any regulatory amendments found to be appropriate, provided such suspension shall terminate 180 [days] after the passage of this Ordinance unless the Town Council has not then completed its review and acted upon any amendments to such regulations. In that event the suspension shall be extended once for a period of sixty days by action of the Town Council.”

The Town Council’s Response: Town Ordinance No. 38-10 adopted the language contained in Section 2(C) of the petition ordinance.

3. Section 3(A) of the petition ordinance provided for the appointment of a 12-member Oil and Gas Advisory Board within 30 days of the adoption of the ordinance (Section 3(A)). The OGAB was to consist of (i) 8 Town property owners, some of whom owned their minerals and some of whom did not (Section 3(A)(1)) and (ii) 4 members who are “mineral lessors, independent experts . . . and a third party mediator without any financial or professional ties to the Town of Flower Mound or the oil and gas industry” (Section 3(A)(2)).

The Town Council’s Response: On July 6, 2010, the Town Council appointed 12 members to the OGAB and 4 alternates also were named, all in compliance with Section 3(A) of the petition ordinance.

4. Section 3(B) of the petition ordinance provided that “the Board shall conduct public hearings to identify the concerns of the citizens of the Town regarding (1) Centralized Natural Gas Compression Facilities, Centralized Natural Gas Lift Facilities, and Centralized Natural Gas Produced Water Facilities . . . and (2) oil and gas and/or produced water pipelines.” Section 3(C) of the petition ordinance required at least one public hearing on the OGAB’s findings relative to centralized facilities and oil and gas pipelines as well as recommendations “as to any amendments to the Code of Ordinances of the Town.”

The Town Council’s Response: The OGAB held multiple public hearings to solicit citizen input. After an extensive number of meetings throughout the late summer and fall of 2010, the OGAB presented its preliminary report to the Town Council on January 20, 2011. Additional public hearings were held on February 10 and February 12, 2011, to solicit further citizen comments on the proposed OGAB recommendations. The OGAB’s Final Recommendations were presented to the Town Council on February 28, 2011, and were discussed at the March 21, 2011, Town Council meeting. At that time, since several OGAB members considered there were additional outstanding items, a public comment period was designated from April 1 to April 18, and two additional public comment meetings were held on April 7 and April 12, 2011. After the presentation of draft ordinances, the Town Council held public hearings on June 20, 2011, and July 18, 2011.

5. The second Section 3(B) in the petition ordinance (there were two sections numbered 3(B) in the petition ordinance) provided that “upon completion of such public hearings, the Board shall assess the Town’s existing ordinances regulating centralized processing facilities and oil and gas pipelines with the objectives of (1) addressing the concerns of the citizens identified in public hearings; (2) recognizing any appropriate restrictions on the location of such facilities and pipelines and (3) balancing the rights of surface owners with rights of mineral rights owners while preserving the integrity of Flower Mound’s Master Plan and Smart Growth principles. Other factors which may be considered are impacts on the following: economic development, tax receipts, property values, air quality surface and subsurface water flows. Particular matters may be delegated to appropriate boards and commissions and/or staff to develop recommendations for referral back to the Board and/or Town Council.”


The Town Council’s Response: The oil and gas drilling and pipeline ordinances adopted on July 18, 2011, addressed all of the expressed concerns. Several matters were delegated to Town staff to address through the retention of experts (Integra and Kleinfelder, for example) in a comprehensive overhaul of the Town’s natural gas ordinances. Specific references were made to such studies and the topics referenced in Section 3(B) of the petition ordinance.

6. Section 3(D) of the petition ordinance provided that “the Council may expand the scope of the review as it deems appropriate.”


The Town Council’s Response: In adopting Ordinance No.39-10 (also on June 7, 2010), the Town Council extended the moratorium to include all permits related to natural gas drilling in the Town above and beyond the moratorium referenced in the petition ordinance. The Council also made detailed findings that oil and natural gas exploration, drilling and operations involve or otherwise impact the Town’s environment, infrastructure and related public health, welfare and safety matters, including noise issues, road repair issues due to use of heavy equipment, site security and signage issues, issues related to operating hours, venting of gas, fire suppression issues, lighting issues, containment systems, hazardous materials management, spill issues, operator insurance issues, environmental impairment matters and other regulatory issues. That ordinance also provided that due to the many issues related to oil and natural gas exploration, drilling and operations, “the Town is in the process of studying those issues and formulating modified regulations to address the multitudinous land usage, environmental and public health, welfare and safety matters related to such exploration, drilling and operations.” At that June 7 meeting, several residents stated that it was prudent to review the oil and gas ordinances and that increased setbacks were necessary.


After reviewing the petition ordinance in detail—according to its exact words—and comparing those words to the actions of this Town Council, how can anyone honestly contend that this Council did not “follow the requirements as they are clearly laid out in the petition ordinance” and that the petition ordinance “didn’t accomplish what it was written for”? This Council followed the petition ordinance line-by-line, section-by-section, and as result, with incredible diligence and hard work by the Advisory Board, Town staff and this Council, adopted outstanding new ordinances that are reflective of the values of Flower Mound, its residents, and all 6,000 voters who signed the petition in 2010.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

UPDATED: Flower Mound New Oil and Gas Ordinance gets some publicity

Here is a segment of the new ordinance on NBC 5. Click here


Newspaper articles:

Pegasus News click here. This one best described the reason for the repealing in its entirety and a zoning amendment that fired up residents and got them to back the petition. Now there will be a double layer of approval for any Centralized Collection Facilities and Centralized Compression Facilities.

Star Newspaper click here.


Dallas Morning News click here. Requires a subscription.

Cross Timbers Gazette click here. This also describeds the reason for the repeal.


We will update as we find more articles.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Flower Mound Oil and Gas Advisory Board Experience

Serving on boards really isn't a new thing for me. I have served on countless PTA Boards, Committees and HOA Boards. But the Oil and Gas Advisory Board was quite a different experience. The board was made up of many different members, each brought with them different perspectives, points of view and ideas. Our job was to ultimately come up with recommendations for the Flower Mound Oil and Gas Ordinance and Pipeline Ordinance. This meant sharing information and discussing ideas. It also meant that as board members, we had to decide as a majority what to eventually put into the recommendations.

We had mineral owners, non mineral owners, industry experts who were also residents of Flower Mound and one moderator. I can honestly say that not one member got everything they wanted, including me. That in no way discredits the recommendations we brought forth. If we all agreed on everything right from the beginning, then why bother with 12 members and 6 months of meetings?

I want to make it clear that I never felt manipulated by the Town Council. I believe it is an insult to assume that we, the advisory board members, are ignorant enough to allow someone to manipulate us. I keep hearing that we "didn't have experts." I realized I would be remiss to overlook the expertise of the members and residents on the board that work in the Oil and Gas industry. Their input proved to be a valuable tool.

Each member brought their knowledge, experience, and love for our community to the table. It was an honor to serve on the Advisory Board with my fellow members. I have the utmost respect and admiration for all of them. Looking back, I am pleased with the outcome and our recommendations. I am proud to say Flower Mound now has one of the strongest ordinances on the Barnett Shale and most likely the nation.
Tammi Vajda

Monday, July 18, 2011

Approved!!!! Flower Mound New Oil and Gas Ordinance

Earlier this evening, the Flower Mound Town Council voted to accept the new Oil and Gas Ordinance and Pipeline Ordinance. The vote went as follows for all items.

Council Members Filidoro, Lyda, Wise and Hayden voted in favor of accepting and adopting the new ordinances. Council Member Stephenson stated "present". We looked up what it means when a council member states "present" during a vote. We believe it means the same as abstain. Click here.

Here are the items.

9. Public Hearing to consider approval of an ordinance amending Chapter 34 of the Code of Ordinances by repealing existing Article VII, “Oil and Natural Gas Well Drilling and Production Operations,” and adopting a new Article VII, “Oil and Natural Gas Well Drilling and Production Operations.”
Passed 4-1 abstention

10. Public Hearing to consider approval of an ordinance amending Chapter 34 of the Code of Ordinances by repealing existing Article VIII, “Oil and Gas Pipeline Standards,” and adopting a new Article VIII, “Oil and Gas Pipeline Standards,” and adopting a new Article IX, “Vested rights/preemption determination.”
Passed 4-1 abstention

11. LDR 02-10 – Repeal of Zoning Ordinance Regarding Centralized Natural Gas Production Facilities
Public Hearing to consider an amendment to the Land Development Regulations (LDR 02-10) by amending Section 98-2 (Definitions), Section 98-273 (Agricultural District Specific Uses), and Section 98-952 (Use Classifications) to repeal the provisions contained in said sections related to Centralized Natural Gas Compression Facilities, Centralized Natural Gas Lift Facilities, and Centralized Natural Gas Produced Water Storage Facilities; and to consider adopting an ordinance providing for said amendment. (The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval by a vote of 7 to 0 at its July 11, 2011, meeting.)
Passed 4-1 abstention

Mandatory vapor recovery was not included in the ordinance. The town felt to "demand" it outright may not hold up in the court of law but put together an emission plan that they feel will accomplish better emission controls.

This ordinance received accolades from many experts and attorneys.

Jim Bradbury, who is an oil and gas attorney in Ft. Worth, who served on the FW drilling task force and who is a steering committee member for Texas OGAP called the ordinance “brilliant, exhaustive work.” He said the pipeline ordinance is “impressive and stout.” He said the task force did “a very thorough and good job.”

Bruce Baizel is the lead attorney for Earthworks’ OGAP. He said, “Overall, this is one of the strongest town ordinances I have reviewed.”

Many thanks to Sharon Wilson and Gary Hogan for showing up and speaking tonight.

Thanks to all the experts that reviewed the ordinance including the Texas Oil and Gas Accountability Project and Earthworks.

Thank you to all the advisory board members, including the industry experts on the board for your valuable input and information.

After close to 4 years of hard work, we are very happy to see stronger regulations in place. We are lucky to have elected officials in place that are willing to protect all residents. Whether you are a non mineral owner, a mineral owner that hasn't signed a lease or a mineral owner that has chosen to lease, the best drilling practices are in place to protect your health, safety and property values.

Click here to watch the video from the Town Council Meeting.

Friday, July 15, 2011

FMCAUD helps residents in Colleyville against Titan Operating Rule 37

Titan Operating has filed yet another Rule 37 against homeowners in Colleyville. This is Titan Operating’s second Rule 37 in Tarrant County, in addition to the two pending Rule 37’s in Flower Mound, and one scheduled for hearing in Lewisville.

Titan withdrew from another Rule 37 in Lewisville earlier this year. FMCAUD had committed to helping homeowners in all areas of North Texas protect their private property/mineral rights from confiscation by Titan Operating LLC. No matter what your opinions on other neighborhood gas drilling issues, the vast majority of Texans believe staunchly in individual private property rights. Rule 37’s are one of the most egregious threats to private property rights in Texas. Your only “choices” are to sign a lease against your will or likely have your property taken with no hearing to quantify and compensate you for the value of the property taken from you.

Approximately 1.6 million dollars of revenue is at stake. When there is that kind of money at risk, who wouldn't justify it with a little theft?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

UPDATED....EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced a strong new clean air rule

This is the first article we have found but I am sure there will be plenty.

Favorite paragraph from this article.

Texas, by contrast, will have to reduce more pollution than in the initial proposal, which required the state's power plants only to address summertime smog-forming pollution.

Click here for article but more info to come.

Here is an article in the New York Times. Click here.

Click here to read rule.

Friday, July 1, 2011

DFW Has A Gas Problem!! Sound off at the TCEQ DFW Smog Plan Hearing

Natural gas is the cleanest of all the fossil fuels...okay MAYBE (THATS A BIG MAYBE) to burn but certainly not when being extracted. The process uses millions of gallons of water that will never be returned to the water cycle. Many cases of contamination of water wells and sources are documented even though the industry continues to deny it.

The biggest issue facing North Texas is our air quality.

The industry and some of our state officials deny that the gas drilling process does not affect our air quality. The industry refuses to use vapor recover or emission control. Why? Because they don't have to. It is not mandated by state or federal government making it difficult for municipalities to demand it. On July 13th, the Fort Worth air study will be released. This could prove to be very important when it comes to enforcing vapor and emission control. Today, the Star Telegram reported that 68% of the gas well sites tested leak! Those conducting the study expected less than 25% to be leaking.
TXSharon has the article on her site. Click here to read.

Eat Up and Sound Off For Clean Air

Thursday, July 14th, the TCEQ will be holding a public meeting for the DFW Smog Plan at Arlington City Hall, 101 W. Abram. There will be two sessions. 10:30 am and 6:30 am. The most exciting will be the 6:30 pm session. Downwinders At Risk has a fun event planned. We encourage all to show up, have some fun, and speak up. Demand the gas industry be added to the DFW Air Plan.
Click here for the Downwinders At Risk details.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Like a good neighbor....Williams tries to steal your minerals

Adding on to their attempt to steal minerals from the Town of Flower Mound, Williams has scheduled two Rule 37 hearings, both to take place (likely in the same hearing) on July 27, 2011. The Rule 37 hearings are for the 5H and 6H wells on the Dr. Bob Smith B East pad against two Flower Mound home/mineral owners.

Oddly enough, you won't find anything in the "Corporate Responsibility" section of their website about taking minerals that aren't theirs. It appears as homeowners, the "choices" are to sign a lease against your will or likely have your property taken. As some of the industry folks and those who regulate them like to say, "There are consequences for not signing."

I think the Mafia uses that line too.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Shale gas....Not the Big Deal after all?

By now most of you have seen this article about how shale gas is not the big deal the industry wants us to think it is. The article mentions Deborah Rogers. If you have not had an opportunity to hear her talk about the "shale's", you are missing out. She has a great perspective and is loaded with information to back it up.

Click here to see Deborah Rogers speech at the Earthwork's-Oil and Gas Accountability Project's Oil & Gas Summit in Pittsburgh in November 2010.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Another Environmental Issue With Gas Drilling

We believe more attention should be brought to this issue. Mining for fracking sand.
Click here to read more.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gas Drilling....The Next Asbestos?

Many of us from the beginning of this fight have said we are worried about the long term effects of natural gas drilling on our health and quality of life. This is an interesting little article about just that.
Click here to read about Shale Gas - Next Asbestos.

No wonder our elected officials in Austin keep trying to take the right to sue away from us.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Flower Mound Town Council Extends Moratorium and Discusses Ordinances

Last night Flower Mound Town Council voted to extend the gas drilling moratorium until the proposed new Oil and Gas Ordinance is discussed and voted in. Matt Woods, Director of Environmental Resources, gave a great presentation of the recommendations by the Oil & Gas Advisory Board. The Oil & Gas Advisory board recommendations addressed many concerns about regulation and protection for the residents of Flower Mound.

For those of you that missed the Flower Mound Town Council meeting last night, click here to watch. The town has it broken into sections.

Music, Cocktails and Gas

The Dallas Observer and the Oak Cliff Conservation League is sponsoring a showing of the movie Gasland. June 27th @ 7:00pm. See info below.



Monday, June 20, 2011

Industry Propaganda Comes In Many Shapes and Now Color

Apparently the industry is having a hard time getting adults to buy the "gas drilling is safe" idea so they have started to target kids. Talisman Energy out of Calgary has put together a coloring book called "Talismans Terry's Energy Adventure"! Terry is a cute and lovable Fracosaurus!


Click here for your very own copy to print off for your kids.


Oh yeah, you might want to add the part where it explains how much water is used and contaminated. Oh yeah, don't forget to draw a pretty picture of the thick black smoke coming from all the trucks and equipment. Maybe add a nice drawing of a gas mask that can be colored and cut out.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Gas Drilling Impact On Mortgages......

An interesting article appeared in the New York Capitol News about fracking and mortgages. A task force was commissioned by Tomkin County to look at Mortgages and Gas Drilling. Click here to read Task Force Report. After reading the report, it got us thinking about what a big issue this will most likely become for many of us living near gas drilling. No. 4 on the list was concerning.


4) Secondary Market requirements state (Freddie Mac guide 39.4 (m)) that lenders must warrant the following, each of which would not be possible with gas/oil leases in place. These leases restrict use of the property by the borrower and there is not reliable data to support what impact a gas lease has on value or marketability:
a. . ..must not interfere with the use and enjoyment of any present or proposed improvements on the mortgaged premises or with the use and enjoyment of the balance of the Mortgage Premises not occupied by improvements.
b. . ..must not affect the marketability of the Mortgaged Premises
c. . ..must have no or minimal effect on the value of the Mortgaged Premises
d. . ..must be commonly acceptable to private institutional Mortgage investors in the area ...
Banks could not warrant any of these issues due to lack or comparable sales and details regarding gas leases attached to other properties.


We can only assume that as time goes on that this could impact all of us on the shale. We spoke with local Real Estate Agents and they have started to see documents at closing in the last year where the seller has to sign an affidavit that states that the minerals are not leased and there is not drilling on the premises. This is a document coming from the lender. There is also concern among some of the local agents we spoke with that the mineral leases will impact the ability for a seller to sell their home given the reduced ability to get a mortgage on that property for a prospective buyer. This is not a good thing unless your mineral payments are greater than the value of your home or land you are selling. We already know that unless you own a large piece of property and have signed surface and mineral rights, the "mailbox money" is no where close to the value of your home. Even then, if you do not sell your mineral rights with your property, that would devalue the property for the future buyer. Also as seen in a previous post from last year, this issue has caused some lenders to refuse to finance or re-finance the property. We received info from one of our friends on the Marcellus Shale about property owners having difficulty with lenders financing properties that have surface and sub-surface gas drilling activity or existing mineral leases. Click here to read all about it.