Big D’s BFD

Big D BFDDid you feel the ground shifting under your feet yesterday around 5 pm? It was another one of those local earthquakes caused by fracking. The epicenter was Dallas City Hall. Damage to the gas industry's rhetoric and credibility was extensive.

By a vote of 14 to 1, the Dallas Plan Commission pronounced the permissive "Fort Worth Model" of regulating the drilling and production of natural gas in the Barnett Shale dead. The passing was definitive. As John Cleese might say, "This paradigm is no more…it has ceased to be…this is an EX-paradigm."

It didn't go down without a fight. Up until the very final hours of debate over language in the City's proposed new gas ordinance, staff was still offering weaker versions of rules to Commission members because "that's the way Fort Worth did it." They were all rejected in favor of stricter standards as part of what has the potential to be the most protective ordinance in the Barnett Shale.

Now all we have to do is get eight Dallas City Council members to help us realize that potential.

The draft passed yesterday isn't 100% of what residents want, and in one case doesn't even match the level of protection Dallas itself started out with in 2007. It still provides paths through the bureaucracy for drilling in parks and flood plains, instead of outright bans, and despite staff assurances, the chemical disclosure language isn't foolproof. But to see it only through the lens of what it's not yet doing is to ignore the huge impact of what it already does. Coming from the largest city in the Shale, the Dallas draft immediately offers a modern, tougher alternative to Ft. Worth's submissiveness for dealing with the problems of mining gas in urban environments. To quote our Vice-President, it's a B.F.D. Some of the highlights include:

1) A 1,500 property line-to-property line setback from neighborhoods and other protected uses, matching the most protective setbacks in the Barnett Shale. It can only be reduced to a minimum of 1000 feet with a variance, and that's only possible with 12 out of 15 council votes. Notice of any permit must go out in English and Spanish to all mailing addresses within 2000 feet and the applicant must hold a neighborhood meeting where the project is fully explained.

2) Electrification of all motors and engines on a drilling site. If operators want to make an exception and use combustion engines, they have to show why electrification isn't feasible, and the City has to agree.

3) Tough restrictions on where gas compressor stations can locate – only in heavy industry zoning districts, with the same 1,500 foot setbacks from neighborhoods and all other protected uses, fully enclosed, and they must use electric engines, not diesel or gas. Thanks to some quick pushback by residents and their allies on he Commission, we were able to win back all the rules that staff had excluded in their first take only 24 hours before the vote.

4) A ban on any injection wells in the City of Dallas.

5) A ban on fracking waste pits.

6) Requirements for a road repair agreement before a permit is even considered. This is above and beyond any other insurance or bonding requirement.

7) A recommendation to the Council that it establish a local air pollution off-sets program that would include natural gas facilities. Such a program would be the first of is kind in the nation and close a Clean Air Act loophole that exempts these facilities from participating in the federal off-sets program for smoggy "non-attainment areas."

8) Baseline testing of water, soil, air, and noise at every proposed site.

9) Individual non-toxic "tagging" of all fracking fluids used. Every operator will be required to put their unique chemical signature within the concoction they're pumping into the ground so that if any of it goes where it shouldn't, the offending well can be identified. It's DNA testing for fracking.

10) A recommendation to the Council that during drought conditions,  it either charge substantially more for city water that's being used for fracking, or ban the use of city water for fracking all together.

11) A recommendation that the Council demand an additional letter of credit from operators beyond any other insurance or bond  to cover uninsurable intentional acts of contamination, i.e. dumping waste into the Trinity River.

We're not in Cowtown anymore.

(There's not an online version of the final language up yet. We'll let you know when there is so you can look this thing over yourselves).

City attorney Tammy Palomino, always a reliable source of information, stated on the record that she believed the draft's language about chemical disclosure would cover all trade secrets, but we're not so sure. That's why we'll be asking the Council to add five simple words to this section that Ms. Palomino didn't: "with no exceptions for trade secrets."

Instead of banning drilling in the floodplain, the proposed ordinance makes it impractical, though not impossible. An operator would have to get a fill permit from the city, and approved by the Army Crop of Engineers, to build a mound that would elevate the entire drilling pad site out of the floodplain. Anyone who's seen the footage from Colorado's flooded gas plays over the last couple of weeks can identify the folly of this approach. What's to keep flood waters from eroding the elevated mound and taking the entire pad site down stream? Only the lack of a kind of levee-to-levee flood we've seen in Dallas before.

Park drilling provided the day's lesson in pretzel logic. A "protected use" includes a recreation area, "except when the operation site is on a public park, playground, or golf course." Then it's perfectly fine to have rig next to the swing set. Got it?

This is less protective than the original Dallas Park decision that preceded the notorious Suhm secret agreement with Trinity East. It called for the leasing of a park's mineral rights but banned surface drilling in any park. You could go under but not on. That's still the most sensible compromise but it went floundering for support yesterday.

Instead, the Park Board will have to request the City Council to hold "Chapter 26" public hearing, after which there must be a 3/4 vote of approval by the Council that officially concludes there's no other possible feasible use for the park land other than gas drilling.

Listening to the comments from many Commissioners right before the vote, one got the feeling that if they had to do it all over, they might not be so equivocal. Nevertheless, they all voted for the more convoluted approach. It's the most flawed part of the ordinance, especially in light of the outcry over allowing any drilling in any public park during the Trinity East fight.

With those exceptions, it was a banner day for residents who've been fighting this good fight for over three years now. It was the kind of day that after Trinity East's main lobbyist whined that the company just couldn't get the electrical hook-ups they needed (in the middle of Northwest Dallas by a major Interstate) during the public hearing right before the final vote, an influential conservative Commissioner successfully moved to amend the completed draft to make the section on mandatory electrification of compressor stations stronger. Ouch.

It was the kind of day when the only ally industry could muster among the 15 Plan Commissioners was the sometimes coherent Betty Culbreath, Dwaine Caraway's brand new gift to Dallas residents. Culbreath said she couldn't vote in conscience for a document that required so much from industry. She felt so passionate about the issue, she missed most of the Commission workshops over the past month or so where the ordinance language was debated.  It'd be laughable except the council member who appointed her is now the Chair of the Council's Environmental Committee.

There's no official news about the timeline or process the Council will use to consider the draft now that it's been delivered to them. Despite the mostly winning day residents had on Thursday, its sobering to remember that we only got six votes to deny the Trinity East permits. We need at least two more to make sure this good ordinance stays intact, or gets even stronger.

Such a lopsided Commission result gives us a great running start to get those votes. Backsliding by Council members will be hard to pull-off publicly, although let's face it, some seem immune to embarrassment on this issue. 

Cowtown circa 2008 will always be the industry's preferred template for regulation, because they mostly wrote the rules. Residents in the Shale now have a much more citizen-friendly 2013 Big D model they can use for counterpoint – if we can win ACT III of the Dallas Gas Wars. 

Meanwhile, we'll see you at the movies...

Morning News Takes Strong Stand Against Trinity East Permits; Only 24 Hours to Send Your E-Mails of Opposition

bad-idea-signIt's become so common place these days that you're likely to take it for granted, but if you'd ask activists three years ago whether we'd end up carrying the Dallas Morning News on the issue of urban gas drilling, you would have been considered a dreamy-eyed do-gooder.

But in fact, across the board, from Trinity East to the new ordinance, from compressors to setbacks, the News editorial page has been leading public opinion in favor of common sense, transparency and caution ever since the City's Task Force began meeting in 2011.

That leadership continues with today's blunt recommendation to deny the Trinity East permits. Below is the entire editorial in its entirety, which contains as good a synopsis and talking points about the situation as you'll find.

Meanwhile we only have 24 more hours to fill-up the City Council's mail boxes with your messages of opposition to these awful permits. Please click here to take you to our automatic e-mail system or see this alert for the Council's e-mail addresses.  Then join us downtown at City Hall tomorrow afternoon at 12:30 pm for the historic vote and come celebrate with us at Lee Harvey's afterwards.

Editorial: Dallas City Council, vote no on gas drilling plan

After months of sidestepping the issue, the Dallas City Council now must do the right thing Wednesday — deny Trinity East’s application for permits to drill on parkland and flood plains around the Elm Fork of the Trinity River.

This shouldn’t be a difficult vote. The Dallas Plan Commission twice considered and rejected the permit application — the correct vote because existing city policy bars drilling on the surface of parkland. Now the City Council should step up and also reject Trinity East’s proposal.

In 2008, the city sold lease rights to drill on city-owned land to Trinity East for $19 million and used the money to help balance the budget. It was an ill-conceived decision, prematurely pushed through for budgetary reasons before city officials had decided how they would regulate drilling within city limits.

Due to low prices for natural gas, the project remained dormant until Trinity East revealed plans late last year to build a compressor station and drill on the surface of parkland. The controversy heightened this spring when news broke that former City Manager Mary Suhm had privately told Trinity East she would help it win the right to drill on parkland at the same time she was publicly assuring the council that she would not support drilling on city parkland. The proposal became such a tangled mess that this editorial board sharply criticized City Hall for lack of transparency and due diligence and urged denial of Trinity East’s application.

Trinity East needs 12 of the 15 council votes to override the Plan Commission decision and grant the drilling permits. Council members Scott Griggs, Philip Kingston, Sandy Greyson and Adam Medrano are solidly on record against the proposal, and at least two others, Carolyn Davis and Monica Alonzo, indicated in The Dallas Morning News Voter Guide last spring that they opposed gas drilling.

We hope the council has learned from this debacle and will deliver a “no” vote Wednesday.

The Trinity East proposal is the wrong plan at the wrong time. Before City Hall considers another drilling proposal from any company, officials must transparently develop a tough new drilling ordinance that protects Dallas neighborhoods. The Plan Commission is in the process of writing an ordinance that, among other things, we hope provides safe setback distances from homes and schools, addresses water use in droughts and continues the ban on gas drilling on the surface of parkland.

Gas drilling can be done safely in an urban area if the proper safeguards and setbacks are adopted. Dallas needs to deny the Trinity East plan and then take the time to write rules that are in the best interest of all residents.

It’s Official: Trinity East Zombie Permits Coming Back; Dallas Gas Ordinance Rewrite Schedule Released – 1st Public Hearing August 15th

ZombiescouncilsmThey just won't take a big fat public "No!", or two, or three, for an answer.

We've learned form sources inside City Hall that Trinity East – with a big assist from City of Dallas staff and Mayor Mike Rawlings – is preparing to once again attempt to permit its three proposed drilling and refinery/compressor station sites along the Trinity River.

While the company and city staff keep trying to win support for a weaker new gas drilling ordinance than citizens have repeatedly requested, a deal is being wheeled that would have Trinity East trading its lease on park land for another piece of city-owned property in northeast Dallas. Meanwhile, the City is also working feverishly to firm up support for its official position that it can't possibly turn down Trinity East without losing a lawsuit  – an opinion no one outside of City Hall, save Trinity East,  shares so far.

Yeah, the secret gas deal that the Observer uncovered in February got City Manger Mary Suhm to finally leave the building come December, but she's not going until she gets those Trinity East sites permitted the way she promised behind closed doors.

All of which makes the writing of a brand new Dallas gas drilling ordinance even more important now. And last week the City Plan Commission released its two-month schedule of how that's going to be done (see below), complete with three (daytime) public hearings with an ETA to the City Council by October.

There will be just six more meetings of the Plan Commission to review the almost two-year old Dallas Gas Drilling Task Force recommendations and decide to take them at face value, strengthen them, or weaken them. Scatted among these will be three public hearings – the first one in a little over two weeks on August 15th from 4 to 6 pm. The Commission goal is to get a new drilling ordinance to the City Council by October, when the terms of current members expire.

That's the official agenda. The unofficial one is trying to find ways to weaken the new ordinance enough to allow Trinity East to be able to get their proposed sites permitted. There's already been plenty of evidence at previous meetings indicating how desperate staff is in trying to give their departing boss a going-away gift.

We know most of you can't come to the Plan Commission workshops on Thursday mornings to follow the nitty-gritty of how this plays out. We'll be there reporting that to you, no problem.  But what we can't do is manufacture warm bodies to put in seats for those three public hearings.  Please make it a point to show up at one or more of these – and in particular, the very last one on September 26th as it rolls into the City Council.

Trinity East lobbyist Dallas Cothrum is on record as saying the company's three previously proposed sites on parkland, flood plains and near a new soccer complex that have now been rejected twice by this same CPC were the "best possible" places the company could have chosen for drilling and processing. So now the battle is over the less-than-best possible places. We can't wait to see what part of town the City and Trinity will decide to sacrifice for that designation as part of their possible land-swap deal.

Making sure a new drilling ordinance is the most protective it can possibly be is the only way left to finally drive a stake through the heart of the Trinity East gas permits. You have no idea how much we hate to ring the alarm about these damn permits again, but the stakes are very high and we're on the verge of winning one of the Barnett Shale's biggest citizen victories  – if we can just keep the pedal to the metal. Bring your lead feet to the first hearing on August 15th.

Schedule for the City Plan Commission's Workshops and Public Hearings on the New Gas Drilling Ordinance

(All workshop meetings start at 9 am and take place on the 5th floor at 5ES in City Hall unless otherwise indicated. Specific Room locations for the Public Hearings at City Hall will be announced.  Topic #’s refer to the Dallas Gas Drilling Task Force Recommendations Matrix.)


9:00 am  – 12 Noon  CPC Workshop
• Topic 4 – Pad Site Operations


9:00 am -12 Noon CPC Workshop
• Topic 9 – Gas Drilling/Well Permit
• Topic 14 – Bonding Requirements
• Topic 15 – Site Monitoring and Review of Permit Application


1:30 pm  – 3:30 pm Workshop
• Topic 13 – Required Plans



9:00 am to 12 Noon CPC Workshop
• Topic 1 – Air Quality
• Topic 2 – Water


9:00 am – 10:45 am  CPC Workshop
• Topic 3 – Physical Pad Site
• Topic 16 – Emergency Response
• Topic 5 – Abandonment and Restoration



9:00 – 12 Noon CPC Workshop
• Topic 10 – Seismic Permits
• Topics 6 – Pipelines and Compressors


(Agenda: What to recommend to City Council)                                                                                     

See North Texas Gas Problems Explode on Screen! GASLAND Part II Premieres on Monday

Most of you probably are already aware that Josh Fox's follow-up to "Gasland" will be premiering on HBO Monday night. What you might not know about "Gasland II" is that it heavily features North Texas. Former DISH Mayor Calvin Tillman, Earthworks organizer Sharon Wilson, and Parker County resident Steve Lipsky are all in there, and Lipsky's fight for his well water is a major story thread.

Like it or not, the Barnett Shale is where folks from the rest of the country and the rest of the world come to see what kind of damage fracking can leave in its wake.

Hard to believe it's been 3 years since Downwinders hosted the theatrical premiere of the original in October of 2010 with Fox showing up for a panel discussion that also featured former city councilwoman Angela Hunt afterwards at the Angelica. It was the first citywide show of opposition to gas drilling in Dallas and a full year before the packed Texas Theater showing where Mayor Mike Rawlings made his now famous pledge "to never put neighborhoods at Risk over money." But that was all so pre-secret deal ago.

This summer the City Plan Commission is meeting every two weeks to draft a new gas drilling ordinance for Dallas. By late August or early September, they're expected to be finished and have said they will then hold public hearings on the draft they'll submit to the City Council for a vote.  Plans are under way to try and bring Josh Fox to Dallas for a theatrical premiere of his sequel as these public hearings kick-off. Nobody's sure if this can happen with Josh himself – he's become a genuine celeb since the first time around – but we're working on producing our own "sequel" to that very successful first showing. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, you can send a quick e-mail to the Plan Commission members telling them what you'd like to see in a new gas drilling ordinance for Dallas by clicking here.


Irving City Council Passes Resolutions Opposing Dallas Drilling; Dallas Council Member Reverses Position

bigMoOpening up another official front of opposition, the Irving City Council unanimously passed two resolutions at their regular monthly meeting Thursday night that puts the city on the record against Dallas' plans for park and floodplain drilling.

Besides rhetorically taking a side, Irving opposition could be important because Trinity East Big Cheese Tom Blanton told the city's officials last month that, although the controversial wells and refinery the company wants to build on the banks of the Trinity will be within the City of Dallas, the lateral drilling from those wells are actually planned to go under the City of Irving. They'll put the straw down in Dallas but Trinity East wants to really drink Irving's milkshake

One resolution was aimed at opposing the three Trinity East permits themselves and a second one was aimed at opposing drilling in, on or near Irving city parks. Since both were on the Council's "consent agenda," there was no discussion so we don't know if there's a second shoe that's going to drop in terms of denying mineral rights to Trinity East outright. That might be complicated by the fact that there are already at least two wells near the University of Dallas (in Irving) that the company drilled on behalf of itself and others, including the City of Irving.

Irving's opposition comes a week after the revelation that Dallas City Council member Monica Alonzo, in whose district all three Trinity East wells are located, now "opposes drilling anywhere in the city," a U-Turn on the subject, since just last year she was reported as salivating at the prospect of royalty money from the wells. That could also be critical, because council members often defer to their colleagues when it comes to zoning matters within each other's districts. Of course, there's one way to prove her new-found conversion – sign-on to the internal memo that Council members Scott Griggs and Angela Hunt have circulated asking for five signatures to bring the matter up for an immediate vote by the full council.

Easter’s Here, Do You Know Where Your City Manager Is?

Mary Suhm easter 2.0"Miss Suhm, this is a Good Friday moment, but I guarantee you from the faith well into which I reach, your Easter is coming and you will sail forth.”

– Dallas City Council member and District 3 candidate Vonciel Jones Hill, offering Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm moral support after questioning by Angela Hunt over the Trinity East gas permits, Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Dallas Park Driller Was Former Haz-Waste Handler Forced to Shutter California Plant for Violations

hazmat_cdc-300x204The President of the company at the center of the current Dallas drilling controversy was Vice-President and General Counsel of a hazardous waste disposal firm that was forced to close its California plant site after a long history of environmental violations.

Thomas Blanton is President of Keystone, the parent company of Trinity East, which is applying to the City of Dallas for three gas drilling and production permits in the Trinity River flood plain near Irving. But in the 1990’s and early years of this century, he was a leading officer of the Board of Directors of US Liquids, a large broker of hazardous wastes that had its California facility ordered shut by the state’s California Department of Toxic Substances Control.

From 1999 to 2003, US Liquids owned Romic Environmental Technologies Corporation. Romic’s Bay Area operation received hazardous wastes from throughout the country, “blended” them on-site, and then shipped the toxic soup for use as “fuel” for cement plants like the TXI kilns in Midlothian.

Records show that from 1999 to 2004, Romic was slapped with 28 separate environmental violations by the State of California, which resulted in penalties of $849,500. The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (CalOSHA), discovered 57 violations at the plant from 1988 to 2004, totaling another $163,360 in fines.

Romic closed in 2007 on orders from the state of California as part of a legal settlement stemming from a series of environmental violations. The state and EPA ordered a clean up and closure of the facility after extensive soil and ground water contamination was discovered over most of the site. According to the EPA, the contamination is primarily attributed to the spills, overflows, flooding events, and other accidental releases around the “central process area.” The primary contaminants were volatile organic compounds such as trichloroethene (TCE), a solvent used to clean metal parts. Toxins migrated as much as 80 feet below ground that borders San Francisco Bay tidal marshes.

All three sites that Blanton’s company wants to drill on are located in the Trinity River’s 100-year flood plain; two are also on City of Dallas park land. Opponents have warned about probable contamination from surface spills, which a 2011 UT study concluded were more frequent with fracking than conventional drilling.

It was recently disclosed that a Trinity East sister company experienced a casing failure at an Irving gas well it tried to drill in 2009, although the extent of any environmental damage caused by the incident remains unknown. 

“Does Dallas really want hand over its park land to a businessman who has a history of contaminating and threatening soil and water resources?” asked Gary Stuard, Chair of Downwinders at Risk, a local DFW clean air group that’s been battling the Trinity East permits.

After denying Trinity East’s permits once last December, the City Plan Commission is scheduled to vote a second time on them at its meeting on Thursday afternoon.

Stuard was critical of the lack of due diligence city staff had performed on Trinity East and its owners and said this new information was another example of residents doing the job themselves.  “There’s never been a review of the company’s track record by the City. It had gone completely unexamined until Dallas residents took it upon themselves to do the research. What else don’t we know because the City isn’t doing a routine background check?”

Back in California, the first phase of the EPA-ordered clean-up at the Romic site ended in 2010 with clean-up of surface and above ground messes.  A second phase is addressing the remediation of below surface soil and groundwater contamination. The estimated cost for closure and cleanup of the facility is $2.5 million.

Groups Call for Full Open Public Hearing for Dallas Gas Permits Vote on Thursday

ZombiescouncilsmallHere's the full text of a letter that was sent to all Dallas City Plan Commission members last week:

Commissioners and Chair,

Despite the request to the City Council made by members of the Commission on February 7th to change city policy in order to accommodate the Trinity East gas permits by your March 21st meeting, there has been no effort to do so.

For this reason alone, we urge you to take no action on these permits next week, or uphold your December 20th denial. These permits would allow surface drilling on park land and in floodplains, contrary to current city policy.

However, information and circumstances that have come to light since the December 20th vote to deny these permits make them even more objectionable.

We know that the proposed Trinity East processing facility and compressor station will be at least the 10th largest source of air pollution in the city, with a strong probability that emissions would grow to be much greater, out of the regulatory reach of the City of Dallas as they grow.

We know that city staff is working to locate this large air polluter next to the new Elm Fork Athletic Complex, in direct contradiction to recent city staff and City Council actions to protect the area around the Complex from lesser air pollution threats.

We know that, despite the title of the facility itself, the scale of operations, and the equipment it proposes to install, city staff refuses to classify Trinity East’s “Luna South Gas Processing Facility” as a gas processing facility under current City of Dallas zoning law.

We know that Trinity East misled the CPC at your February 7th meeting when its representative told you that gas well casings always protect underground aquifers. In fact, Trinity East had a casing failure at a previously undisclosed well in Irving, only a few miles away from the proposed Dallas sites, and with the City of Dallas participating in the lease agreement.

We know that on January 10th, Trinity East representatives told the Commission that its processing facility and compressor station would handle only the gas from its three Dallas sites—despite its Manager stating in published interviews that it was the centerpiece of a larger regional plan that incorporated Trinity East wells in at least two other cities.

We know that the city staff has a conflict of interest in performing an unbiased due diligence of the Trinity East permits because the City Manager had already pledged to support approval of the permits in a previously-undisclosed 2008 agreement. This is the reason there has not been a comprehensive review of the environmental and public health impacts of these permits by the City of Dallas staff, as there have been for other proposed polluting facilities in the same area as the Trinity East sites.

We know that a complaint has been filed with the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office alleging possible Open Meetings Act violations leading up to the January 10th CPC meeting that could make a second, “reconsidered” vote on the Trinity East permits illegal.

We know that a vote to approve these Trinity East permits is a vote condoning five years of the public, the Commission, the Park Board, and the City Council being intentionally mislead by the City Manager concerning the circumstances of these specific sites. It is perhaps the most important vote you will cast as a City of Dallas Plan Commissioner.

If you do decide to take a second vote on the Trinity East permits at your March 21st meeting, we request that you adopt special public hearing procedures that will guarantee a Dallas resident’s right to speak.

Based on the experience of the Commission’s February 7th meeting, the CPC format of 15-minutes per-side is clearly not adequate to allow everyone who wishes to give testimony on this high profile and controversial issue to be heard.

Because the CPC only meets during weekdays, many of us take off from our jobs or home responsibilities to attend. Our time should be respected. When a government entity announces a public hearing, it should be willing to listen to everyone who makes the effort to attend and speak. You owe us that courtesy.

The only time citizens have become angry during CPC meetings has been when they were completely shut-out of any opportunity to provide public comment (January 10th), and when public comment was shut down prematurely with many dozens of speakers still lined up to give testimony (February 7th). We make no apology in standing up for our right to speak out.

To avoid future frustrations, any definitive vote on the Trinity East permits taken on March 21st should be preceded by an inclusive, open-ended public hearing that gives each person their say. Toward that end, we propose that the CPC adopt the City Council rules for public hearing and allow everyone who wants to testify a total of 3 minutes each. The hearing would remain open until the last person spoke. Commission members would still be able to ask questions of specific presenters. This offers freedom of speech without sacrificing any of your tools to elicit further information from the participants.

We know that some of you must be as frustrated as ourselves in having to revisit this issue time and again, but there is a way to definitely put it to rest. Let the December 20th denial of the Trinity East permits stand.

Thank you for your consideration.

Raymond Crawford
Dallas Area Residents for Responsible Drilling

Jim Schermbeck
Downwinders at Risk

Sharon Wilson
Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project

Marc McCord

Ed Meyer
Mountain Creek Neighborhood Alliance

Molly Rooke
Greater Dallas Chapter, Sierra Club

Zac Trahan
Texas Campaign for the Environment

Timing is Everything: National Fracking Conference Coming to Dallas

spotlight on drillingWhen it fracks, it pours.

Just as the long-running fight over gas drilling in Dallas explodes into a full-fledged City Hall scandal, here comes a national fracking conference to spotlight how the rush to drill can create more problems than it solves. 

On Saturday March 2nd, and Sunday March 3rd, DFW residents have a great opportunity to take a break in the fight and see superstars of the citizens movement in person when the "Stop the Frack Attack" conference settles in for a two-day run at the Best Western Plus Dallas Hotel & Conference Center at 8051 Lyndon B Johnson Freeway just east of Coit (map).

You can look at a full schedule of speakers and workshops here, but there are some events that stand out:


9:00 am – 9:45 am: Morning Plenary: "Health Impacts of Fracking" with Wilma Subra and Nadia Steinzor.  Dr. Subra was a 1999 MacArthur "genius" award winner for helping “ordinary citizens understand, cope with and combat environmental issues.” She's one of the leading scientific voices in the grassroots environmental health movement. Nadia Steinzor is the Marcellus Shale organizer for national group Earthworks. You you only see one presentation, you might want to make it this one.


2:50 pm -3:45 pm : "Connecting Fracking, Climate Change, and Clean Energy" with Dr. Tony Ingraffea.  Dr. Ingaffea was the Cornell University scientist who first called BS on the gas industry's claims of being 100% climate friendly. As his presentation points out, the mining and production of gas is not climate friendly at all and makes it a worse choice than coal in some respects.


4:15 pm – 5:30 pm: Closing Plenary with Deborah Rogers.

Deborah Rogers is a Ft. Worth based economic analyst whose own family property was put under siege by fracking in Cowtown. She just released a new report on the "bubble economics" of the gas industry and will close out the weekend with a presentation on the real economics behind the shale boom.

You don't get to see these three headliners at the same gig very often outside of either coast, so take advantage of them showing up at your front door just as we're about to start another chapter in the Dallas Drilling Scandal, with a City Plan Commission vote scheduled for March 21st. Be prepared.

Besides these great speakers, there are also lots of workshops:

Fracking 101

Community Organizing & Leadership Development

Pipelines, Compressor Stations and Other Infrastructure

Spokesperson training

Nonviolent Direct Action

A full two days. Nationally-known speakers. A bunch of workshops where you'll learn the things you need to know and meet people like yourself. All for only $50 bucks – and that includes lunch both days. Register here now. See you there.