The Dallas Gas Wars Are Getting Noticed

by Downwinders on October 18, 2013

house with rigThe Texas Tribune has a pretty good overview of the different ways Texas municiplaities are regulating gas drilling, including the contrast between industry-friendly Ft. Worth and a more skeptical Dallas:

Meanwhile, industry representatives and some lawyers point to Fort Worth, 40 miles west of Dallas, as a model for balancing economic and environmental concerns. Between 2006 and 2012, the city took in nearly $264 million in natural gas revenue, including lease bonuses, royalties and property taxes on mineral leases.

Fort Worth’s ordinance —  which limits noise, keeps most drilling 600 feet from homes and spells out duties for local inspectors —  has grown to more than 60 pages from five. Most recently, the city tightened rules on gas compressors.

But environmentalists point to the city as a model to avoid. It is pockmarked with more than 1,700 producing wells, with pad sites nestled beside sports fields, homes and schools.

“It’s gradually chipping away the quality of life,” said Don Young, a 62-year-old Fort Worth native and longtime activist, who worries that drilling has worsened air quality.

In 2011, a study commissioned by the city concluded that drilling exposed residents to harmful pollutants like acrolein, benzene and formaldehyde, but not at dangerous levels.

Ridley said Fort Worth had come up several times in the planning commission’s talks, but mostly when suggesting stricter regulations. “We arrived at what we thought was an effective means to protect people,” he said. 

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