Zombie Gas Permits on the March Again


Public (re)-Hearing on the Last Three Dallas Gas Sites.……including the newly-discovered "Rawlings Gas Refinery"

This Thursday
1:00 pm
Dallas City Hall

6th Floor
City Council Chambers

Press Conference followed by City Plan Commission Mtg

This is the "do-over" hearing demanded by the Mayor in order to win approval of these permits – after the first one in December resulted in denial.

Come and defend this victory or they'll steal it away from us.

Dallas Residents at Risk, the alliance of groups that we work with on this issue, will be holding a press conference at 1:00 pm – just like we did before the much-publicized January 10th reconsideration vote –  and then heading into the CPC meeting at 1:30. Show up early because we'll be talking about a surprising new development in this fight and bringing you up to date with the latest information.

It's important to demonstrate that opposition to these permits is growing, so if you haven't made it down to City Hall before, Thursday is the day to come.

If you're a regular, then you know how much warm bodies in the audience mean to the moment.

They would have been no news coverage on the 10th without all of us standing up and publicly "shaming" the CPC over its "reconsideration vote" in person. You can't do that by e-mail or petition. We need you there. We need you clapping for the good guys. We need you hissing the bad guys. We need you. There is no substitute.

Looking for material for your testimony? Here are some things we know now about these sites that we didn't when the CPC turned them down in December…..

* Neither the Park Board nor City Council ever voted to allow surface drilling in parks. In fact, city staff assured the City Council in 2008 that would be NO surface drilling in parks. So where did Trinity East get the idea it could have two of its drill sites on city park land (The newly-named Luna Vista Golf Course and near-by gun range)? That's a really good question that nobody at Dallas City Hall has attempted to answer.

* One of the Trinity East sites now contains a large gas refinery and compressor station in addition to a pad site for 20 wells. This facility will become the 10th largest air polluter in Dallas the moment it comes on line, releasing 75-100 tons of air pollution every year only 600 feet away from the City's new Elm Fork Soccer Complex on Walnut Hill.

* Last September, the City of Dallas denied a new permit to a rock crushing facility near the Elm Fork Soccer Complex because its 17 tons of annual air pollution was deemed too threatening for children's health. However, five months later, the city is advocating allowing the operation of a gas refinery and compressor station that is estimated to release some 75-100 tons of air pollution a year. Why is 17 tons of air pollution a health threat but 100 tons is OK? Another great question nobody at Dallas City Hall has answered.

* Trinity East knew when it signed its leases with the City that drilling in parkland and the floodplains was prohibited. So why is the City of Dallas still saying its afraid of a lawsuit by Trinity for backing out of the deal if the permits are denied?

We can win if we keep showing up and asking questions.
Please show up this Thursday.

Magical Mystery Tour: Then vs Now

Magical Mystery Tour BusDallas city staff are trying very hard to persuade the City Plan Commission to reverse their December 20th denial of the three Trinity East gas drilling and production sites.

So hard, they engineered a "reconsideration vote" to overturn that denial, now scheduled for 1:30 pm February 7th – next Thursday.

So hard, they're flip-flopping on established positions, misrepresenting the facts, and fabricating new definitions to avoid the truth.

So hard that they're resorting to the tired and true tactic of polluters and their flunkies everywhere: "Let's Take a Tour of the Site!"

So at 8 am on Thursday morning- tomorrow – members of the Plan Commission, under heavy escort by city staff, will meet at City Hall to board buses and take a tour of the Luna Vista Golf Course drill site, the gun range site near-by, and the refinery site near the Elm Fork soccer complex just west of Walnut Hill. Interested citizens will be along as well, but city staff has told them that they may or may not be able to ride on the tour bus with CPC members and staff. Too risky we suppose – what if someone wants to challenge the staff narrative? Is such a bus ride a violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act? Good question. But Dallas City Hall hasn't been in the mood lately to observe the fussy legal niceties.

But the tour does give CPC members the chance to compress all the tricks and untruths of the gas lease controversy into a nice 3-hour package. For example:

Threat of a lawsuit from Trinity East for Not Alllowing Drilling in Parks or the Flood Plain

Then:  "When the city executed its lease with Trinity East, the words “park land” didn’t appear. The lease designated just five sites – none on parkland – as authorized drilling locations. Two sites that were on parkland were listed as ‘possible’ drilling sites, the same two locations now up for review. But city staff made it clear to the council that the company had no assurance that those sites would ever be available.” (Dallas Morning News, 2012).

Now: Trinity East says "prohibiting drilling and production in public parks is a complete reversal of the City's position when the leases were sold. In fact, two of the pending drill sites are on park lands (one adjacent to L.B. Houston Golf Course and one on the Gun Club). Not only were these sites advertised in the original RFP, but they were also specifically identified by city staff before the
leases were purchased. It will result in a breach of agreement. (2011 Trinity East Letter to Gas Task Force.

Surface Drilling on Park Land

Then: “There will be no drilling allowed on the surface of city of Dallas park land.” (2008 City of Dallas staff presentation to City Council)

Now: Dallas city staff say there will not only be surface drilling on city parkland allowed, but that city parkland will be permanently taken out of park use to allow for drilling.  There's a February 13th hearing on doing just that scheduled by the Dallas City Council.

Refineries and Compressor Stations

Then:  Under the current ordinance, compressor stations and refineries “would require a planned development district because no defined use; or must create a use in zoning districts.” (City Staff to Gas Task Force in 2012).

Now: Under the current ordinance, special zoning districts are not required for compressor stations and refineries. These are part of “normal well site production.” There is no definition of a compressor station or refinery that distinguishes it from normal well site production. (City of Dallas Staff, January 2013)

Citizens will be on the tour with fact sheets reminding the press, the CPC, and city staff themselves about these obvious contradictions. But's it up to you breathers, to remind them forcefully enough to keep the permits denied on the 7th. Keep those cards and letters coming in and be sure to show up for the CPC meeting at 1:30 pm next Thursday,