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The Audacity of Gas:or how XTO told Dallas to go frack themselves

September 17, 2010

At yesterday’s public hearing, it was late in the day. We and others for the opposition had presented our reasons for taking a slower approach, and perhaps even establishing  a task force to continue to study the issues. After numerous comments from the opposition, XTO/EXXON executive Walter Dueease was being grilled  by commissioner Michael Schwartz about the amount of emissions that could come from the proposed well site. Mr. Dueease continued to squirm for an answer but then erupted with this answer,” I guess we could have sombody live out there”(on the drill site) and then explained,“I’m not trying to be smart”. No, that was perhaps the most  honest answer a natural gas executive could have given to a city and it’s residents. There it is, out in the open. Silence was louder than any drill rig could have created. Faces of shock hung on the commissioners like a bad mask.

For a minute by minute replay, you can go to the Dallas Observer and read for yourself what happened.

At the morning briefing, when a slide presentation showed the drill location MINUS (big mistake)the affected neighborhood photos, the commissioners looked, listened, and questioned. Sustainable Development Assistant Director David Cossum admitted to the group that the city was indeed in some areas of uncharted territory. In fact, the city forgot to tell the US ARMY who has training operations on this site, that a well was even being considered.

OOPS! We will give XTO/EXXON some props on when asked why he didn’t alert the US ARMY about the well site, his answer? we’ll paraphrase when he said, ” it’s not his job to tell the city’s tenants.”  Right answer, Walter. So there in their official fatigues, the two officers told their story of how difficult it would be to fly helicopters around a gas well site.  No one called them to ask the US ARMY’s opinion. Imagine that.

Good answers were not aplenty in the briefing room yesterday morning, and the afternoon session did not give much more.  Residents opposed, US ARMY not happy, and a frustrated, desperate salesman trying to “close the deal” before buyers remorse could set in.

The vote came down to, “under advisement”, delayed until October 21st, 1:30pm City Hall Chambers.

The audacity of it all.

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