Gas drilling on park land in northwest Dallas has been turned down for a second time. The City Plan Commission heard three hours of debate over drilling permits for Trinity East Energy.
In December, commissioners also denied requests from Trinity East Energy to drill on the surface of park land in northwest Dallas, but a month later decided to reconsider. The permits called for gas wells on park land next to the city’s Luna Vista Golf Course, and Elm Fork Gun Range, with a gas compressor station nearby, close to the city’s new Elm Fork Soccer fields.
The golf course and gun range wells are close to the Irving city line. That brought Irving Council member Rose Cannaday to Dallas City Hall. She told commissioners the wells would be a risk to that area of Irving.
“Campion Trail, that we’ve put millions of dollars into to develop. You have one of the number one charter schools in the country there," Cannaday told the Commissioners. "You have grade schools, we have soccer fields. We have an equestrian center. You have children there."
Trinity East CEO Tom Blanton says clean air, clean water, and safety are priorities.
“So we have set up these facilities to operate with that in mind," Blanton said. "We have far exceeded what the Railroad Commission, TCEQ and the EPA request of us.”
And Trinity East consultant Dallas Cothrum told Commissioners the Dallas gas well regulations would be a lot tougher than Irving’s.
“We far exceed, in many cases three times, what the city of Irving’s standards are,” Cothrum stressed to Commission members.
Plan Commissioner Paul Ridley made the motions to deny the permits. He told fellow commissioners he remains concerned about the health and safety impacts in and near parks.
“As to whether these facilities will be compatible with those surrounding land uses, we should deny the application," Ridley said. "Because if we approve it, and it turns out that it is damaging or dangerous to those surrounding land uses it will be too late.”
Trinity East officials say they are disappointed, and hope the Dallas City Council will ultimately approve the drilling and reap the common benefit of the Barnett Shale. Because of the Plan Commission denial, it will take a super-majority, or 12 council members, to approve the drilling.