It certainly started off well. That's why we're really shocked that this (7 Man,1 Woman. Minus 1 Recused Councilman) City Council was apparently unmoved by the speeches from individuals who are ACTUALLY experiencing drilling operations RIGHT NOW within a few feet of their backyards. They seemed so disengaged or maybe they were just confused during the
3 1/2 4 hour meeting.
The proposed changes to the Grand Prairie Gas Drilling Ordinance had some excellent ideas put forth by City Staff. One of those included a 1,000 foot setback with only a possible 700 foot variance. This City Council doesn't seem to be very informed at all about shale gas drilling. People came to the microphone, poured their hearts out and then members just sat there
like zombies. (Update: Maybe that's too harsh, and they just didn't know what to say.) The new Ordinance left out those most crucial parts the Westchester-Community Alliance requested. Namely, a Public Overview and/or a Specific Use Permit required for each and every well site going in.
So, after all the speeches (mostly in SUPPORT of the new Ordinance as presented during the Work Session last Tuesday AND posted on the Web site) there was a vote on tabling this "Earlier Revised" Ordinance so that we could have more time for feedback. That one didn't make it. And then there was another vote for going with a 700-foot setback with a 500 foot variance (presented at the 4:30 PM City Council Session). That one passed.
And then the BEST Part. They kind of went right to a vote to lift the 6-Month Moratorium. WHOOSH. Over and Out.
- 1,000 foot setback becomes 700.
- 700 foot
setbackvariance becomes 500 AND
- 6-Month Moratorium becomes 2-Month.
But the biggest kicker of all is how each and every gas operator that spoke tonight mentioned all the meetings they had with Environmental Services about the Ordinance during this hurry-up process.
So, to summarize, I guess what this Westchester Neighbor is saying is this:
We're really not a TEAM. We ARE Chesapeake.