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Citizens group issues its recommendations for gas drilling in Dallas

October 5, 2011

City Hall Reporter for the Dallas Morning News, Rudy Bush writes:

This morning, gas drilling activist Raymond Crawford addressed the City Council and introduced a 13-page document that lays out gas drilling recommendations crafted by local citizens groups dedicated to environmental quality.

The plan emerges in connection with the city’s appointment of a gas drilling task force to study a new ordinance regulating gas drilling. The city has active leases with two energy companies to drill on city land, something that has caused increasing alarm as more information about the potential impact of drilling has become known.

The plan notes that the city has successfully regulated dangerous uses such as hazardous and medical waste incinerators.

The same approach should be taken with gas mining, the document states.

Gas mining and processing involves hazardous chemicals and activities, routinely releases hazardous and toxic chemicals into the environment, and has the potential for catastrophic disaster through accidents or sabotage. It is the very definition of ‘”heavy industry”. As such, it’s fundamentally at odds with what Dallas has proclaimed itself to be about in the 21st Century – sustainable, green, renewable and family-friendly.

Crawford told the council this morning the recommendations were put together by citizens after the gas drilling task force chairwoman, Lois Finkelman, asked industry representatives to detail best practices for drilling.

“They literally sat there with their mouths shut. They had no recommendations for best practices,” Crawford said.

So the citizens group came together to try to answer Finkelman’s request.

“After many hours of research and study and kvetching and arguing and looking over some different ordinances around the metroplex we’ve come up with some recommendations,” Crawford told the council.

“They’re tough; they’re strong; they speak to all the many aspects of gas drilling and the environment and protecting Dallas citizens which I know is a big concern of yours,” he said.

With that, here are some of the recommended regulations. The entire document is on the jump.

Prior to the issuance of any new Gas Well SUP permits. a City Gas Inspector must be hired.’The City of Dallas will hire a gas inspector/staff who is employed by the City of Dallas on a full time basis. and whose duties are not shared with any other municipality. The gas inspector’s office will be located in 0Ifice of Environmental Quality.

Gas Well SUP and permit is required every well pad site. A permit is required for every gas well drilled.

All parties involved in drilling operations and production, including secondary and tertiary contractors, associated with each well must be disclosed at the time of the first permit application.

All gas well SUP permit applications require the Operator to submit a Comprehensive
Infrastructure Plan. This plan will include. but is not limited to:

• Detailed descriptions. drawings and maps of proposed pipelines, compressors,
tanks and any other new facility or development connected to the drill site.

• Before drilling can begin, that plan must be approved by both the Planning and
Zoning Commission. and the City Council.

No wells will be allowed inside a residential area.

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