I don’t have much time today so this has to be quick. Highlights from last night.
The baloney prize goes to Gilbert Horton, Devon Energy, who made comments at last night’s Denton Council meeting. Paraphrasing what I can remember:
The drilling industry has drilled thousands of wells with no major accident (he didn’t mention all the accidents that are hidden here ).
Response: I guess this depends on your definition of major. I know communities that consider the frequent accidents as major. I think when water looks like this, it’s major to those water drinkers. Blowouts are major.
We should reduce setback to 600ft.
Response: I thought the miracle of horizontal drilling was supposed to be the ability to access gas from far away. Now you say you have to get practically in my backyard (photo). You can’t have it both ways.
Horton also claimed that vapor recovery devices won’t work in Denton because the gas is dry.
Response: But Denton’s gas wells produce high quantities of condensate according to this analysis which means the gas is not dry.
Environmental Defense Fund today released an analysis that compared trends in air pollution data collected by the state with public records of oil and gas activity in the Barnett Shale and found a correlation between the ambient levels of common hydrocarbons and the amount of condensate produced by natural gas wells in Denton County.
A related analysis released today of state air pollution monitoring data between 2002 and 2008 found that the air in Denton county contained more non-methane hydrocarbons (including some potentially hazardous pollutants) than any of the other counties in the Dallas-Fort Worth area where such monitoring was conducted.
I don’t think anyone puts much credence into anything Horton says but one resident took issue with his statements saying that his suit cost more than her tuition for a semester. Another resident reminded me that doctors used to make commercials saying smoking was good for you.
All Denton resident speakers where great. One longtime childcare provider talked about the increase in asthma in children under two and told about a seven-week-old baby girl who died in her arms from severe breathing problems.
The highlight for me came when Cathy McMullen delivered her analysis of the consultant fees.
city council meeting 12/04/2012
The city of Denton was billed by consultants for the proposed new drilling ordinances in the order of frequency:
General work on gas well amendments 9 times
Review changes to the moratorium and “Unofficial” official task force 8 times
Robson Ranch and Preemption issues 7 time
Vest rights 6 times
Hunter Ranch ( which does not even have a home in the development) and grandfathered provisions for gas well amendments 4 times
Oil and gas regulations, Federal preemptions, uniform requirements, and Regulatory Taking 2 times
Research other cities ordinances, Home rule authority, City’s initiative to regulate oil and gas explorations with corporate limits, Gas well enforcement in the TEN, Zoning ordinances for potential exceptions.
For a total of 143 hours or roughly 97% of the billed time was devoted to the above issues to protect industry’s rights.
Now regarding environmental issues the city of Denton was billed for
EPA review , Air emission issues, and Air quality ordinance 1 time
Clean air act preemptions 3 times
or a total of less than 4 hours or equal to
Roughly 3% of the billed time was dedicated to environmental issues.
I don’t even know what to include this under
Review Denton-based blogs regarding natural gas matters 1 time
Why would a consultant spend 2 hours on this? Is blogging regarding natural gas such a problem in Denton the city needs to spend money to review it?
Now, I think it is time for the city council to devote 100% of it’s time to producing a set of ordinances the majority of the citizens of Denton have been asking for since 03/2009.
In my comments I gave a historical comparison between Denton and a city that did not allow industry influence to distort the process.
P.S. The thing that freaked me out most is the city manager, George Campbell, has sole authority to grant drillers vested rights. No one from Denton spoke on that.
About Sharon Wilson
Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.
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Cathy McMullen says
To think I was dreading this meeting because I thought it was going to be boring! Last night was one of the emotional and thought provoking meetings I have been to in Denton drilling.
Nothing can ever repay all the hard work Sharon has done for Denton.
I was moved to tears a couple of times. I think people are tired of the steaming pile of manure.
You’re the one. And Adam. Not me.
Keep up the good work TxSharon!
kim Feil says
My meeting in Arlingotn’s City Council Chambers was a joke…only two speakers the whole night…boy when my two minute bell rang, the mayor cut me off!…twice
Ho hum, just *another* routine gas pipeline explosion, this time raining rocks the size of bowling balls & destroying utility poles around the Goldsmith TX area:
This gas pipeline was *only* 16 inches at 500 psi, so, just think what a 30 inch gas gathering line at 1200 psi will do in suburban areas. It won’t matter if it’s gathering or transmission when they fail, they still wipe out the area nearby.
Spin that incident, Mr. Horton.
Don Young says
Gilbert “Bologna” Horton has been spinning baloney since 2006 when after a speech to FW city council about how great drilling would be for the city, Mayor Moncrief left his chair on the dais to personally shake Horton’s hand. I knew then the FW was a lost cause.
Thank you for reminding us about that historical moment in the downfall of Cowtown.