Next month, the Dallas City Plan Commission will reconsider its denial of gas drilling permits for Trinity East Energy. But, some at the commission meeting thought a do-over was a bad idea.
The City Plan Commission vote to reconsider rejection of drilling permits by Trinity East Energy angered a large crowd of drilling opponents at the commission meeting. They erupted into chants - holding signs that said “shame”.
Chairman Joe Alcantar requested the re-vote, saying he wanted to make sure the commission had done a thorough job. His request squeaked by.
“The motion to reconsider passes 6-5,” Alcantar announced.
Commissioner Sally Woflish originally voted for the gas drilling permits, and lost. But she said no to a second vote. Wolfish smelled politics in the reconsideration request.
“I think we’re being asked to reconsider our vote because a deny by this body requires more votes at the city council level than the applicant can muster," Wolfish observed. "And a deny by the city council may lead to lawsuits by the applicant.”
The Commission then voted to delay the reconsideration until February 7th to allow three absent commissioners to attend. Two had the flu, a third a conflicting engagement.
Drilling opponent Zac Trahan says his side will work hard to win again.
“It’s incredible. It’s preposterous. It’s ridiculous that we have to win twice," Trahan said venting his frustration. "Industry would only need to win once if they get the permits approved. We don’t get a reconsideration. We don’t get a second vote. We have to win twice. City Hall today is a sham. And it’s a shame.”
John Rogers, with the Dallas City Attorney’s office, told Plan Commissioners the request for a second vote is within the commission’s purview and proper protocol has been followed.