Yesterday the City of Denton validated the signatures on the fracking ban petition. Now the initiative will go to the city council and they have 60 days to hold a public hearing where they will, most likely and again, ignore the will of the people and deny the ordinance which means, unless the city pulls some other shenanigans, it should be on the ballot in November.
What was the City of Denton doing while Frack Free Denton was working hard to gather signatures on the petition that, when passed, will protect the public?
They weakened the noise ordinance.
They passed a moratorium on new drilling permits.
The purpose of the moratorium as stated by Councilman Dalton Gregory:
However, the city can’t do anything about the 30% of Denton’s available land that was permitted by the fire department for an unlimited number of wells into perpetuity.
Some of Gregory’s ideas on improving the ordinance where listed in another article.
“I’d also like to see consideration given to encourage the clustering of gas wells in order to open up land use for the future development in the city.”
Oh, do you mean clustering the gas wells to create environmental justice areas? But you can’t cluster the wells on the 30% of Denton’s available acreage that is already platted and permitted by the fire department for an unlimited number of wells in perpetuity because operators can do anything they damn well please on those vested sites.
I also think that we need to address the insurance and bonding provisions of the current ordinance to make sure that the provisions are adequate and equitable.
This will do nothing to stop the ongoing emissions that residents are subjected to.
As a side note: In response to the news that the council had passed a moratorium, EagleRidge submitted a statement to CBS 11:
“Eagleridge Energy, while surprised by the Denton City Council’s decision to initiate a moratorium on new gas wells, remains supportive of the city’s efforts to assure the health and safety of the citizens of Denton. Eagleridge looks forward to continuing to work with the City to develop a clearer, more predictable and useful gas well ordinance. The company is also committed to being environmentally responsible and points to the fact that it has been in compliance with state and local government standards relating to safe drilling, fracing and ongoing operations and that it has no violations.”
But, that’s not the truth. TCEQ issued a notice of violation to EagleRidge for their operations in the Vintage and Meadows of Hickory Creek neighborhood.
AND this one:
“On April 23, 2013, the RRC sent a request for legal enforcement to the legal department for failure to notify the district office immediately when they lost control of the well per SWR 20 (a) (I)”
AND this one:
Agreed enforcement order by Railroad Commission of Texas September 11, 201220. O&G 09-0273645: Eagleridge Operating, L.L.C. (Operator No. 238462)enforcement action regarding the Corbin (255643) Lease, Well No. 1, Newark,(d) Pollution control. (1) Prohibited disposal methods. Except for those disposal methods authorized for certain wastes by paragraph (3) of this subsection, subsection (e) of this section, or §3.98 of this title (relating to Standards for Management of Hazardous Oil and Gas Waste), or disposal methods required to be permitted pursuant to §3.9 of this title (relating to Disposal Wells) (Rule 9) or §3.46 of this title (relating to Fluid Injection into Productive Reservoirs) (Rule 46), no person may dispose of any oil and gas wastes by any method without obtaining a permit to dispose of such wastes. The disposal methods prohibited by this paragraph include, but are not limited to, the unpermitted discharge of oil field brines, geothermal resource waters, or other mineralized waters, or drilling fluids into any watercourse or drainageway, including any drainage ditch, dry creek, flowing creek, river, or any other body of surface water.
They failed to enforce the noise ordinance that was in place prior to the weakening mentioned above.
This one is best illustrated by a chain of emails between the city and me.
“Lindsey.Baker@cityofdenton.com”I’m sorry to bother you with this, but I have been unable to get an answer to my open records request.On April 27, 2014, I made the following open records request.Please provide “The weekly noise report,” described in “35.22.5 Standards for Gas Well Drilling and Production” of the Denton Development Code, for the EagleRidge Bonnie Brae 4H facility pad site on Vintage Road and the EagleRidge Bonnie Brae 1H, 2H and 3H facility pad site on Bonnie Brae. All information requested is for the dates August 1, 2013, through April 27, 2014.Ms. Walters replied that there were no records responsive to my request. I often do open records requests to the TCEQ for reports that are required from operators. If TCEQ does not have the reports in house, they demand that the operator provide them to fulfill my open records request. Thinking this might be the case, I followed Ms. Walters’ suggestion and contacted the Gas Well Administrator. On May 14, 2014, I sent the following email to “Groth, Darren” Darren.email@example.comPer instructions from Jennifer Walters, Public Information Coordinator for the City of Denton, I am writing in an attempt to find out what happened to the weekly noise reports as required in the gas well ordinance. Ms. Walters has my open records request and she can forward that to you. She has informed me that the reports were not provided. Please contact the operator and obtain those reports to fulfill my open records request or let me know why the reports were not provided,Thank you for your time,Mr. Groth never responded to my request.I understand that the noise ordinance was changed on March 18, 2014, so there will be no reports after that date. Previous to that date the weekly noise reports were required under the former ordinance. Unless the answer is that EagleRidge refused to provide them, please obtain the reports and send them to me.Thank you,Sharon Wilson