The Corinth meeting tonight had several hundred residents in attendance. About 50 signed up to speak, including Calvin Tillman, Mayor of DISH, and quite a few registered their opposition to the variances in writing.
We had to endure a long sales pitch by Robert Manthel, Regulatory Affairs Coordinator, XTO Energy, in which he made liberal use of those “loose facts” mentioned by Dr. Ramon Alvarez recently.
Oh, he’s so full of manure, that man! We could lay him in the dirt and grow another one just like him.
~Ruby, Cold Mountain
As Dr. Alvarez said, “Loose use of facts will backfire on the natural gas industry.” And, it did tonight. Industry has to realize they are dealing with a more educated public. I think the presentation should have come from an environmental person who is independent, hired by the city to present factual information about the drilling process to residents.
The meeting won’t be over until late so we’ll have to wait to see if the council listened.
UPDATE: The good news: Corinth residents get 2 weeks, until April 15th.
The bad news: that also gives XTO 2 weeks and they will spend that 2 weeks trying to seduce anyone with any influence to smooth the way for the variances.
One of the most powerful moments last night was when Cora Bell asked all the residents who were against the variances to stand or show their hands. Only the few who were not residents remained seated. Then she asked all the residents who signed a mineral lease based on the assurance that the well would have a different placement to stand or show their hands. Again, a large number of people stood.
Clearly, the Corinth mineral owners did not have competent legal advice. Location of the well should have been stipulated in the lease. Advice from an experienced law and gas attorney is critical before signing a lease because the oil and gas industry is like a high school football player in the dark with a cheerleader: they will tell you anything to get what they want.
I also want to note how unfair it is that the XTO representative was given a long time–maybe 30 minutes or more–to present his slick dog and pony show yet the residents had only 3 minutes in which to present all they have learned to dispute the loose facts given. That said, there is a stark contrast between the Corinth mayor who is obviously kind and treated each resident with respect and the Flower Mound and Fort Worth mayors. His questions and those of the entire council were intelligent and not obviously intended to produce a specific response, unlike the questions of the Flower Mound mayor and certain council members.