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Apparently no one cares…

October 12, 2010

On Thursday, October 21st at 1:30 pm in Dallas City Hall chambers, the city planning commission will decide whether to approve or not approve an application for natural gas drilling in the city limits of Dallas. This particular application would site as many as 23 gas wells on Hensley Field at Mountain Creek Lake next to the Bella Lagos neighborhood. Based on the application, these 23 wells could sit next these residents for 10 years. Since 2008, when the city decided to pursue this very loosely regulated industrial revenue communication from the city to it’s residents has been poor to non existent.

The Dallas gas ordinance was created back in 2007 by people who had good intentions but a thorough lack of knowledge regarding safe drilling practices and the “human element”. The City of  Dallas never hired a gas industry person to guide them in creating a good ordinance. To this day, the City of Dallas still does not have a gas inspector or a gas staff on it’s payroll.

Since 2005 when the industry was deemed unregulated by the Safe Water and the Safe Air acts from the 1970’s, the industry has run amock. Confirmed reports of water and air contamination, adverse health affects, and property value drops continue to grow around the country where drilling occurs. Industry will tell you that this is all unconfirmed. They know that it’s true, and still they lie with all the money, and influence an industry can create. They rely on us to “roll over” and not pay attention. In some ways, we have done that. Hence, the problems that are now around us. They rely on us to sign on the bottom line without asking questions.

We ask the City of Dallas: Why would you consider an application for something when the rules that regulate this applicant are out of date and full of unanswered questions? One commissioner states, “I will never live close to a gas well.”  Unfortunately if this goes through, he will be surprised, as we will all live close to  the gas wells. Air and water are not exclusive commodities. We all breathe the same air, and drink the same water. We are curious as to where this commissioner is getting his air and water. Another commissioner states,”I know there are some problems with this application, but we need the gas.” None of the commissioners live close this proposed site.

We have proposed a moratorium of at least six months. We need a task force of residents, civic leaders, and gas industry experts not associated with the applicant to rewrite the ordinance. This has to be done as it affects us for the rest of our lives. No one from the city has spoken with the residents affected by this application outside of the one public meeting that was held a month ago. The residents are scared, mad, and upset. If the city wants this so bad, then they could have rewritten the gas ordinance. They could have required air monitors at the drill site. They could have knocked on doors and sat down to hear the resident’s fears. But they did not.

If you care enough about our Dallas air and our Dallas water, please show up at the meeting next week. Show the residents of Bella Lagos at Mountain Creek Lake that you care.

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