Come and Put a Stake Through the Heart of a Scandal: Dallas Drilling Vote Scheduled Next Thursday, 21st

by jim on March 15, 2013

Dracula 58 Van Helsing Stakes LucyToday the Dallas city secretary's office published the agenda for next Thursday's City Plan Commission meeting. It includes a vote on the three controversial Trinity East gas drilling and production sites – the Luna Vista/LB Houston golf course site on park land and in the Trinity River flood plain, the Gun Club site on park land and in the flood plain, and the large refinery and compressor station near the Elm Fork Athletic Complex.

Opponents will once again be gathering at 1pm next Thursday, March 21st, on the 6th floor of Dallas City Hall to hold a press conference immediately before the start of the CPC meeting.

This March vote was scheduled after the short-circuited February 7th Commission hearing, when members of the CPC requested that the City Council take action to change city policy to make the permits legal – that is, to allow drilling in park land and the flood plain. However, the Council hasn't taken any action on these items. Drilling in parks and in the flood plain is still against city policy and so, these permits are still illegal. Voting for their approval would be a disastrous precedent. But the vote will be very close. That's why we need you there again next Thursday.

Many of you have seen how members of the Dallas City Council responded to this Drilling Scandal when an unprecedented cross-examination of the City Manager took place at a late February Council meeting – most rolled up into a ball and wanted the whole thing to go away, others were anxious to get on with drilling. Only three Council members spoke out against the last five years of secret agreements, lies and misrepresentation about these permits by city staff.

That's why these Trinity East permits must be stopped at the Plan Commission. If the CPC votes to deny the permits this next Thursday, that will probably be the end of things because it would take 12 votes to overturn that decision at the Council.  We have the four votes necessary to prevent that from happening. If the CPC votes to approve, all it will take to issue these permits are 8 Council votes to drill, baby drill, and believe us, they have those votes. So the CPC is it.

We need your butt in a chair in the City Council Chamber at 1:30 pm next Thursday. Your presence at the last three skirmishes has kept this hot potato hot. Please don't let it cool down now, when the climatic vote is taking place. Make a commitment to show up one more time. It's important or we wouldn't ask.

To help you get ready for next Thursday, here's some helpful study aids:

* If you want a quick visual tour of these three Trinity East sites and a good summary of the fight, please check out our 4 minute video primer:

* In Friday's Dallas Morning News, North Texas naturalist Julia Bergen describes why these drilling sites are anything but "wasteland," as some City Council members have described them:

* The Dallas Residents at Risk alliance has a good summary of the issues involved on the front page of their website:

* Here's our take on the recent discovery that the City and Trinity East have already partnered-up to drill a previously-undisclosed well in Irving and the result was a casing failure that could have left thousands of gallons of chemicals underground:

Documents Show Dallas and Trinity East Partnership Extends to Previously Undisclosed Irving Well That Had Casing Failure

All we know about these sites has come from citizens doing the due diligence that the city should have been performing. If it had not been for you showing-up five days before Christmas for the first CPC hearing, again in January for the bogus "reconsideration" vote, and again at the Commission's February abbreviated "hearing,"  these permits would have already been approved. There's been a human dam of residents holding back the wave of city staff and industry inertia. Don't let that dam fail now. Vote with your body. Please Be There Thursday.

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