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Endangered or threatened species at the City of Dallas owned, Hensley Field.

June 20, 2021

The Natural Resource Damage Assessment Plan report co authored by Texas Parks and Wildlife, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and Texas General Land Office list the following species as either endangered, threatened and one species as being a candidate for endangerment.

Whatever types of remediation by either the US Navy (or the City of Dallas) is enacted out at the City of Dallas owned Hensley Field and Mountain Creek Lake, how these species survive on land, air and water will determine how clean it will be to live out there.

If ever.

Threatened-Black Rail





Defining chemicals with ‘potential’ concern

June 19, 2021

The dictionary defines the word, potential like this:

po·ten·tial: having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future. When you hear that the weather forecast includes “a potential for thunderstorms, ice, snow”, most of us prepare the way we drive, what we wear, and run our schedules.

But what if 3 State agencies published a list about a property whose heading read “CHEMICALS OF POTENTIAL CONCERN”? Would you want to visit that property? Would you want to live on that property? Would you want to raise a family on that property?

This is the situation facing the City of Dallas with regards to the Hensley Field aka the former Naval Air Station and Mountain Creek Lake which sits adjacent to the property. The property and the lake are being touted by The City of Dallas staff and the Mayor of Dallas, Eric Johnson as something with great potential for the future of Dallas.

Over the decades, while the City of Dallas created ideal conditions for developers to move north of downtown Dallas, an abundance of vacant, inexpensive land continued to grow southwest of downtown. When the city limits hit the wall of available land up north, the City of Dallas started to look for what was available in the southwestern section. They realized that they still owned the land formerly known as The Naval Air Station. But there’s a history.

Over the course of this blog, you will read from several different sources the toxic history of Mountain Creek Lake and Hensley Field. Educate yourself and start asking your council member, “what exactly is the plan to clean the lake and the soil so that people can safely live and play on it 24/7 and how much is it potentially going to cost us?”

The report below is from the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Plan created by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and Texas General Land Office. The report is dated May 7, 2021 and had a 30 day public comment period that close on June 7, 2021 but no one from these agencies, nor the City of Dallas wanted to tell the public. We see why. This report is telling us that these chemicals have a potential to show up in the soil, water and fish. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. We will be showing you the entire 46 page report in a future blog post, but it’s important that you see these items first.

Read it for yourselves. Look at this list from the end of the report. See what has POTENTIAL concern by these 3 State agencies regarding the environmental status of the property.

Chemicals of Concern: What’s in the soil and water at Hensley Field/Mountain Creek Lake?

June 18, 2021

Imagine our shock at discovering an ‘assessment report’ put together by three State of Texas agencies: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and the Texas General Land Office. Second, imagine our continued shock when the report stated that it was published on May 7, 2021 and it had a public comment period ending on June 7,2021. To all of this, add knowing that the general public had no idea that the assessment report existed and was looking for public input. The State of Texas didn’t tell us, and the City of Dallas didn’t tell us. Someone didn’t want us to know. Why is that?

The 46 page report is confusing, opaque and alarming at first glance. Right now, we want to focus on what’s in the soil and what’s in the water. If we posted the entire report up front, you wouldn’t read it. It’s too deep, too wonky and too scary for most of us. As a public service, we will look at the report in sections.

First of all, this section will tell you what has been released into the soil and the lake water over the decades when the Naval Air Station (NAS) and the National Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant(NWIRP) was active. Some of the NAS buildings are now gone, but not all. All of the NWIRP buildings are now gone. But’s the residue is still in the soil.

If the City of Dallas feels the need to development this property into a mixed use residential development in the next few years, they need to start with some honesty and transparency as to what’s in the soil and what’s in the lake water.

We know, we see this list. It’s toxic.

Party like it’s 2004

June 16, 2021

The City of Dallas settled with the US Navy and received $18.5 million as a compensatory to remediate the property. We don’t have the details of the settlement but can only assume some things but not all, from this briefing by the City Manager, Mary Suhm to the council. A few years later, the city council would learn that Ms. Suhm was making and breaking deals without their involvement. That scandal has been covered on this blog over previous years. For now, all we know, is what we can present on this blog via public documents.

Get ready, because after this point, it only gets deeper and murkier.

The Dallas Morning News weighs in on Hensley Field development

June 16, 2021

On Monday, the Dallas Morning News Opinion section weighted in as to what is happening at Hensley Field. Since the piece is under an exclusive members only content, many Dallas residents will not see it.

Until now…..

Hensley Field, a 738-acre property bordering Mountain Creek Lake in southern Dallas, has a distinguished history. The city of Dallas leased some of the land to the U.S. Army in 1929 to train reserve pilots. In the 1940s, the Navy established an air station, which remained operational until 1998.

The site retains certain military operations, but for the most part, the storied Hensley Field has become a sort of secret closet for the city. It’s where it stashes old Dallas police squad cars. It’s where it ships the Pioneer Plaza longhorn sculptures for cleaning. It’s where the city temporarily housed Nina Pham’s Cavalier King Charles spaniel Bentley after the nurse contracted Ebola in 2014.

Hidden in the southwestern reaches of the city, Hensley Field has been out of sight and out of mind for 20 years. The Navy was supposed to clean up the site by 2017 but has been slow to do so.

We hope that will change now that the city is moving forward with a master planning process that might finally realize the lakefront property’s wasted potential. As part of that process, the city invited members of the public to tour the site on a recent Saturday and offer ideas about a mix of potential uses.

Several scenarios are under consideration, and housing is a component in all of them.

Officials estimate that building out Hensley Field will take at least 20 years. Mayor Eric Johnson, who has pressed the Navy to get moving on environmental remediation, said a master plan will be critical to guide the cleanup process. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, or TCEQ, is involved.

Danny Reible, a chemical engineering professor at Texas Tech University who has studied contamination in military facilities, told us that there is no “set way” to remediate former military sites because that work depends on site conditions and planned future uses.

The Navy agreed in a 2002 court settlement to clean up Hensley Field to “residential standards,” the most stringent and the costliest type of environmental remediation. However, a site where part of the land is reserved for housing and where the rest of the property is contemplated for other uses doesn’t have to be cleaned up to residential standards in its entirety, Reible said.

“Using different cleanup standards for the portions of the site and putting the more contaminated areas into less restricted use like commercial or industrial, that would be a common way to manage the site,” he told us.

A series of contaminants in the soil have already been cleaned up to meet residential standards, according to the city. But complicating matters is the Navy’s discovery at the site of a group of chemicals known as PFAS.

PFAS chemicals were heavily used in airports and military airfields as fire suppressants. These pollutants are tricky to clean up because they don’t degrade easily.

The compounds usually don’t stick to soil and migrate to water easily, which is why groundwater contamination is the greatest concern with PFAS, Reible said.

Remediation strategies vary depending on the level of contamination, which the Navy is investigating. Peer Chacko, the city’s chief planning officer, said Dallas expects to get the Navy’s findings by December.

In the meantime, the firm hired to do the master plan, McCann Adams Studio, is moving forward with its work. The firm expects to present a “preferred scenario” to the city this summer and to finalize the master plan by spring of 2022.

McCann Adams, which led the much celebrated redevelopment of the Mueller airport in Austin, is throwing out ambitious ideas: corporate spaces, film studios, urban farms, food markets, waterfront parks, residential neighborhoods.

The city has a lot of work to do if it wants to make Hensley Field a successful mixed-income community. There is no public transit near the site.

We eagerly await the results of the master planning process, and we encourage the city and its partners to collect more feedback from the public in person now that pandemic restrictions are being lifted. The Hensley Field tour was a smart move.

We also urge Dallas and the Navy to prioritize transparency and vigilance during the environmental cleanup process. We’d like to see our city avoid a scandal like the one at Hunters Point Shipyard in San Francisco, a former naval site where a Navy contractor was accused of falsifying and manipulating data to minimize evidence of soil contamination.

Hensley Field is a well of untapped promise. Dallas has already waited a long time to see it fulfilled, but it should continue to act deliberately and patiently to make sure it gets this just right.

We’re Baaaaaaccck!

June 14, 2021

Okay, so we took a 7 year break. Miss us?

For those who forgot and for those who are new…we won against the gas drilling industry….you’re welcome….and we got Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm to leave…..we know, we know, we are pretty fabulous.

There is no gas drilling inside the city limits of Dallas these days. But there is something afoot that could be just as earth shattering as a good fracking job and equally evil. Since it emanates from 1500 Marilla, it’s no surprise.

We touched on it years ago but didn’t have the time to get into the sordid details, nor did we have access to some new information about the topic.

Stay tuned as we look into and discuss what the City of Dallas is doing with Hensley Field or as we like to call it, Dallas Chernobyl Field.

Get those haz mat suits ready.

Karma Bites EXXON CEO in Ass; Sues Industry!

February 21, 2014



Exxon Chief Joins Lawsuit Raising Ruckus Over Fracking
Wall Street Journal

BARTONVILLE, Texas-One evening last November, a tall, white-haired man turned up at a Town Council meeting to protest construction of a water tower near his home in this wealthy community outside Dallas.

The man was Rex Tillerson, chairman and chief executive of Exxon Mobil. He and his neighbors had filed suit to block the tower, saying it is illegal and would create “a noise nuisance and traffic hazards,” in part because it would provide water for use in hydraulic fracturing. Fracking, which requires heavy trucks to haul and pump massive amounts of water, unlocks oil and gas from dense rock and has helped touch off a surge in U.S. energy output.

It also is a core part of Exxon’s business.

While the lawsuit Mr. Tillerson joined cites the side effects of fracking, a lawyer representing the Exxon CEO said he hadn’t complained about such disturbances. “I have other clients who were concerned about the potential for noise and traffic problems, but he’s never expressed that to me or anyone else,” said Michael Whitten, who runs a small law practice in Denton, Texas. Mr. Whitten said Mr. Tillerson’s primary concern is that his property value would be harmed.

An Exxon spokesman said Mr. Tillerson declined to comment. The company “has no involvement in the legal matter” and its directors weren’t told of Mr. Tillerson’s participation, the spokesman said.

The dispute goes beyond possible nuisances related to fracking. Among the issues raised: whether a water utility has to obey local zoning ordinances and what are the rights of residents who relied on such laws in making multi-million-dollar property investments. The latter point was the focus of Mr. Tillerson’s comments at the November council meeting.

The tower would be almost 15 stories tall, adjacent to the 83-acre horse ranch Mr. Tillerson and his wife own and a short distance from their 18-acre homestead. Mr. Tillerson sat for a three-hour deposition in the lawsuit last May, attended an all-day mediation session in September and has spoken out against the tower during at least two Town Council meetings, according to public records and people involved with the case.

The Exxon chief isn’t the most vocal or well-known opponent of the tower. He and his wife are suing with three other couples. The lead plaintiffs are former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey and his wife, who have become fixtures at Town Council meetings. Mr. Whitten, who also represents the Armeys, said they declined to comment.

The water tower is being built by Cross Timbers Water Supply Corp., a nonprofit utility that has supplied water to the region for half a century. Cross Timbers says that it is required by state law to build enough capacity to serve growing demand.

“We’re a high water-usage area, said utility President Patrick McDonald. “People have large lots, lawns, horses, cattle, goats, swimming pools, gardens,” he said.

Cross Timbers said it would sell leftover supplies to energy companies during months when overall demand is low. Bartonville’s population has increased almost 50% since 2000, to about 1,600, according to U.S. figures.

Mr. Tillerson, 61 years old, moved to Bartonville in 2001 and became CEO in 2006. Since 2007, companies have fracked at least nine shale wells within a mile of the Tillerson home, according to Texas records. The last to do so was XTO Energy Inc., in August 2009, according to Texas regulators. Mr. Tillerson had just begun talks for Exxon to acquire XTO. Four months later, Exxon swallowed its smaller rival for $25 billion, becoming America’s biggest gas producer. XTO drills and fracks hundreds of shale wells a year, and the Exxon unit has said it recycles water and ships it on pipelines where feasible, in part to reduce truck traffic.

In 2011, Bartonville denied Cross Timbers a permit to build the water tower, saying the location was reserved for residences. The water company sued, arguing that it is exempt from municipal zoning because of its status as a public utility. In May 2012, a state district court judge agreed with Cross Timbers and compelled the town to issue a permit. The utility resumed construction as the town appealed the decision. Later that year, the Armeys, the Tillersons and their co-plaintiffs sued Cross Timbers, saying that the company had promised them it wouldn’t build a tower near their properties. They also filed a brief in support of the town’s appeal. Last March, an appellate judge reversed the district judge’s decision saying he had overstepped his jurisdiction and sent the case back to the lower court, where it is pending.

Meanwhile, the utility has reached out to Bartonville voters, who in November elected two members to the council who criticized the town’s fight against the tower. The council is currently evaluating all options, said Bill Scherer, Bartonville’s mayor pro tem.

In the wake of the election, Mr. Tillerson was among those who lined up in a windowless hall to address the council. He told officials that he and his wife settled in Bartonville to enjoy a rural lifestyle and invested millions in their property after satisfying themselves that nothing would be built above their tree line, according to the council’s audio recording of the meeting. Allowing the tower in defiance of town ordinances could open the door to runaway development and might prompt him to leave town, Mr. Tillerson told the council. “I cannot stay in a place,” he said, “where I do not know who to count on and who not to count on.”



For the Bible tells me so…….

February 20, 2014


Let’s Get Busy

January 8, 2014


“We don’t really know, 8,000 feet below, where the waste goes”

January 8, 2014


So said Texas Supreme Court Justice, Paul Green when talking about a case involving a farmer who alleges that a well operator has contaminated his groundwater that lies underneath his rice farm. Read the entire story that the gas industry is watching while you and I continue to surf Facebook and watch The Bachelor.

The Texas Tribune

Texas Supreme Court Weighs Underground Trespassing Case


Just how far below the earth’s surface do property lines extend? And can someone trespass on another’s property — more than a mile underground?

The Texas Supreme Court grappled with those questions on Tuesday as it heard oral arguments in a groundwater case that the state’s surging oil and gas industry says could significantly impact production.

The dispute pits an injection well operator in Liberty County, Environmental Processing Services, against a nearby rice farm, FPL Farming, whose representatives say wastewater from a well that plunges 8,000 feet below ground has migrated into a saltwater aquifer beneath its land. The farm says the waste has polluted its groundwater, amounting to trespassing for which it should be compensated.

The case, which reached the state Supreme Court in 2011 but was remanded to a lower court, has largely flown under the radar of environmentalists and property rights advocates. But oil and gas representatives have been following it closely, saying a ruling in the farm’s favor could threaten production.

A jury originally sided with the well operator. An appellate court in Beaumont later reversed that decision, ruling that the operator should be held liable for trespassing.

At the sparsely attended hearing, the justices did little to reveal any leanings, but at least one justice, Paul Green, said he struggled to understand how a court would penalize a well operator for a trespass that’s hidden under tons of earth and rock.

“I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the issue of how much would be owed and when it would be owed,” he said, adding that it would prove difficult to determine when exactly the trespass took place and how much of the farm’s property — its groundwater — was damaged.

“We don’t really know, 8,000 feet below, where [the waste] goes,” Green said.

In 1997, Environmental Processing Services finished drilling an injection well about 400 feet from FPL Farming’s land, which the farm contested early on. Since then, the company has injected more than 100 million gallons of wastewater, gradually expanding the well’s underground footprint.

The well in question is labeled Class I and used for nonhazardous industrial waste. It is not one of the 50,000 Class II wells that drillers typically use. But lower-court opinions have drawn no distinction between the wells. That has stirred concerns among oil and gas producers that a ruling in the farm’s favor would complicate efforts to dispose of drilling waste, thereby stalling production.

“Because the ability to produce oil and gas is inextricably tied to the availability of injection wells,” the Texas Oil and Gas Association says in a brief, “a new common law cause of action that threatens operation of injection wells likely threatens oil and gas production.”

Justice Eva Guzman cited the those concerns when asking, “Should [a trespassing right] be absolute, or do we need to engage in an inquiry because of [the industry’s] impact on the state?”

The farm’s representatives say they worry that the waste, which includes the flammable liquid acetone, will contaminate its groundwater and erode the value of its property. Though the water is too salty to drink, those on the farm’s side contend that it is valuable because desalination technology could make it drinkable.

“It is polluting the groundwater,” Claudia Wilson Frost, FPL’s attorney, told the justices. “We have a real property right … and it’s being transgressed.”

Environmental Processing Services and its supporters maintain that the waste will make the groundwater no more polluted than it naturally is.

“What flows beneath FPL’s property is crud. You can’t drink it,” Craig Enoch, the well operator’s attorney, told the court, adding, “There’s no evidence that it’s polluted.”

The attorney argued that nothing is keeping FPL from using its surface property. In his argument, he did not address the farm’s contention that it could later use technology to clean up the water. But in an interview, he suggested that future technology could, perhaps, also filter out the industrial waste.

It may be impossible to observe the pollution first-hand, but environmental experts can predict whether and when it has occurred.

In a previous hearing, according to court documents, Bob Kent, a former Texas environmental regulator and FPL Farming’s expert witness, testified that the waste plume had probably traveled across the property lines. He based those conclusions on a formula widely used by state and federal regulators.

When evaluating a drilling application, state regulators generally calculate where the waste might migrate 10 and 30 years into the future.

“Proof in this case is a lot easier than you think,” Frost said. “Once [the waste] is there, the trespass has occurred.”

The well operator’s supporters do not dispute that migration has occurred, but they say predicting the precise path of the mirgration is difficult if it’s to be used in a trespassing claim.

But Frost argued that state’s trespassing law does not require proof of harm anyway, and that that the court — in its historic 2012 ruling in the Edwards Aquifer Authority v. Day case and others — has already confirmed the Legislature’s intention to deem groundwater private property.

“Established Texas statutes and law support each and every one of FPL’s claims,” she said.

The court should consider the mere storage of waste below another’s property — akin to storing items in a neighbor’s garage without asking — as a trespass, Frost argued.

The Supreme Court has previously weighed the idea of underground trespassing, but in the context of mineral rights, not land rights.

In 2008, it ruled against a group of mineral owners who sued Coastal Oil & Gas for trespassing, saying that the company, which had lawfully drilled a nearby well, had drained some of the gas beneath the group’s adjacent property through the fracking process. The court said Texas’ “rule of capture” — mineral owners’ nearly unfettered right to the oil and gas produced by wells on their property — barred neighboring mineral owners from recovering royalties on any gas they lost.

But had fracking been found to damage the neighboring property in other ways (in that case, it had not), the court said the owners could be liable for trespass.

The groundwater case has drawn little attention from property rights advocates. The Texas Farm Bureau, which traditionally supports those interests, filed the lone brief in support of the farm, but didn’t do so until Jan. 2.

Regan Beck, assistant general counsel for the Farm Bureau, told The Texas Tribune in December that the group had only recently learned that the case had returned to the Supreme Court.