Dallas Ordinance Rolled Back Behind Closed Doors? 1500 Foot Buffer Zone In Danger on December 11th

by Downwinders on November 21, 2013

closed-door1 Wednesday's public staff briefing over the new gas drilling ordinance at Dallas City Hall was every bit as biased as you'd expect from a group that's been chafing under the Plan Commission's progressive recommendations since summer.

But it's the snow job that went on in he lengthy two-hour Executive Session that should really concern you – the one where the city attorney basically said Dallas would get sued if it adopted the Plan Commission's proposed 1500-foot setback that would separate neighborhoods from gas wells and compressor stations. It's when they're aren't any cameras or members of the public in the room that staff roll out their most spectacular spin. And the threat of a lawsuit is always good for a scare too.

As it happens, Flower Mound has saved Dallas a lot of trouble. That city also has a 1500 foot setback. And in fact, gas companies HAVE sued Flower Mound. And each time, Flower Mound has won.

And then there's Lubbock. Lubbock! A city where there are two political parties: Republicans and Libertarians. Lubbock's Board of Health recommended a setback of 1500 feet.

And yet, the Dallas City Council could end up running away from a standard even Lubbock doctors endorse come the December 11th vote on a new ordinance.

There are at least five very pro-industry members of the Dallas City Council who are now trying very hard to reduce that proposed 1500-foot setback to 1000 feet or less – Vonciel Hill, Jerry Allen, Sheffie Kadane, Terrell Atkins, and Rick Callahan. All of them were quite vocal in the Q&A session that followed the briefing yesterday, tripping over each other in carrying the industry's water, and all aiming at the 1500-foot setback, the linchpin of the Plan Commission's protections. You can read the DMN description of the sorry episode here.

What we still don't know after today is where the Mayor stands. He hemmed and hawed about public safety and fiduciary responsibility but didn't come down on one side or the other. Neither did Jennifer Gates. Or Dwaine Caraway. (Lee Kleinman was MIA.) These remain the only real unknowns, since citizen groups are expecting their six anti-Trinity East votes to hold here too. And of these unknowns, the Mayor is the most critical. He's on record as saying he'll support the CPC recommendations. Residents must make him accountable for that promise, or find themselves the victim of a policy that was made-up and decided behind closed doors.

To help you do just that, we've got a quick click and send e-mail you can use to tell Mayor Rawlings you want him to use his decisive vote to support the 1500-foot setback and the other provisons of the City Plan Commission draft ordinance.

It's not the only thing citizens need to do to mobilize between now and the December 11th public hearing and vote, but it's a start. Use it today.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Bob Lindsey December 1, 2013 at 7:37 pm

Do the right thing. Keep big oil out of our back (&front) yards.


Don Anderson December 1, 2013 at 7:40 pm

An Oregonian that wants the best for Texas and the world.


Marcos December 2, 2013 at 12:19 am

We can do better


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