Right now in Austin the oil & gas industry is working through the Texas Legislature to strip away the decades old right of Texas cities to protect their citizens. These elected officials are completely out of touch with the reality of real people because they spend all their time with the oil and gas lobby. They are trying to solve a problem before they even know what questions to ask.
During Monday’s testimony for H.B. 40, the Fracking Loophole Bill, I asked Energy Resources Committee Chair, Rep. Drew Darby why he wasn’t asking real people questions like they do the lobbyists. He admitted that he doesn’t even know what to ask:
Darby: Ms Wilson, to answer your question, I don’t think any of us know where to start asking some of these questions.
Rather than listening to the people until they know where to start asking questions, rather than butting out and leaving it up to local control, they are forcing fracking down the throats of cities with a one size fits all solution. There is talk about making Fort Worth a model for all Texas cities.
Fracking blowouts happen: will you be protected?
When it comes to urban drilling, some Texas cities have learned the hard way from the most brutal teacher, experience. Wise cities learned from watching.
Is there anyone so wise as to learn from the experience of others? ~Voltaire
When XTO had a blowout in a Forest Hill neighborhood, killing one man and causing the evacuation of 500 homes, Fort Worth doubled their setback from 300′ to 600′ but residents didn’t think that was enough.
Eunice Givens, vice president of government affairs for the Highland Hills neighborhood association, said Tuesday that the council had knuckled under to gas companies. Her neighborhood abuts Forest Hill, and her son’s family in Forest Hill was forced to evacuate Saturday. She said the clouds of gas aggravated her granddaughter’s asthma.
“What about our rights as homeowners? What about our rights as taxpayers?” she said. “You have created a Frankenstein’s monster in this city, and you are clueless as to how to control it.” Star-Telegram
Other cities watched what happened in Fort Worth and decided to be more prudent.
The oil & gas industry is working through the Texas Legislature to force reasonable and prudent Texas cities to be like Fort Worth.
The City of Denton also experienced a blowout.
The blowout went on for hours before the city or state were notified.
Homes were evacuated.
“They told her not to turn on the lights or anything, just grab her purse and go,” Brewer said. “My daughter was so upset that she forgot to buckle the baby’s carrier into the car seat.”
They told me I couldn’t have animals within 1,000 feet of houses,” Brewer said. “But now there’s a rig within 1,000 feet of houses out here.” Denton Record Chronicle
Flights were diverted at the nearby airport. In the end, it was much worse than we thought.
How close is too close and who gets to decide?
- Do you want the oil & gas industry deciding?
- Do you want lawmakers who don’t even know what questions to ask deciding?
- Do you want Fort Worth to decide?
- Or, do you want local control to prevail?
The mission is to SAVE YOUR CITY. These are still your marching orders. Get on the phone and stay on the phone.
Email for authors and sponsors of HB 40:
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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