Dallas, TX – The Dallas Gas Drilling Task Force heard from citizens last night about their concerns as the city decides how or whether to issue gas drilling permits. KERA's BJ Austin reports.
Drilling Task Force Chair Lois Finkleman laid the ground rules -- three minutes per speaker. Close to 100 people came to the meeting. More than two dozen signed up to give their opinions about natural gas drilling in or near neighborhoods, and make suggestions about what the Task Force should consider as it revamps the city's drilling ordinance.
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Citizens: The quality of our air which the EPA has told us is still not up to their standards. -- I think fracking is a license to kill. -- It is an industry that is respectful of the communities in which we operate. -- How much is needed to put into an escrow account for the city to repair the roads after they're destroyed. It's one thousand truck trips on one drill site. -- What it takes to get a drilling permit from the city of Dallas. I don't know if any of ya'll have ever read this. It's 17 pages of pure hell.
Several speakers expressed concerns about fracking, the drilling procedure in which water and chemicals are injected under high pressure into the ground to crack the shale and release the gas. One worried about possible earthquakes. Another worried about the large amounts of water for fracking during a drought.
Others, like Claudia Meyer, urged the task force to take its time.
Meyer: As a citizen I see there is a gold rush mentality that needs to be tempered with common sense. We do not need to rush into gas drilling without fully knowing the full consequences. We need environmental impact studies and economic impact study.
XTO and Trinity East Energy leased land from the city for drilling in 2008 - paying the city 34 million dollars. Almost two years later, XTO requested permits to drill several wells at Hensley Field - city owned property in west Dallas. Neighborhood objections led to a moratorium and the Drilling Task Force. Chair Lois Finkleman says it's it'll take a few months to digest a lot of information and come to a consensus on a new drilling ordinance for Dallas City Council members to consider.
At its next meeting, August 23rd, the Task Force will hear from industry experts and environmental groups.