Monday, December 09, 2013

Big Trouble at the Eagle Mountain Lake Dam! Where's the RRC? *Update(s)*

By now, most have heard about the earthquake swarm (*1st Update* now upwards of 20 earthquakes 30 earthquakes over the past month since November 1, 2013) happening in the vicinity of Azle, Reno, Mineral Wells and Springtown, Texas and near Eagle Mountain Lake and Dam.  The most recent one this morning was a 3.7 Magnitude.

Since we've written extensively about dams and fracking, specifically, the Joe Pool Lake Dam, we believe there should be a more heightened sense of concern from our Texas oil and gas regulatory agency, The Railroad Commission of Texas.

We don't see any recent Press Releases about this issue on the RRC's web site.  Our local North Texas news outlets are reporting on this issue daily. 

We are baffled since it is such a serious matter for those living near this dam and for all of us who live in North Texas.  The industry has clearly and irresponsibly drilled and fracked directly below this earthen dam.

Railroad Commission of Texas GIS Map of Horizontal Gas Wells 
Under Eagle Mountain Lake Dam 
(Managed by the Tarrant Regional Water District)
Click on the map to enlarge it.  (We've added text & a circle around the Dam.)
Eagle Mountain Lake Dam (Description)
So the Westchester Gasette's question is this:  

What is the Railroad Commission of Texas's Plan of Action regarding this North TX earthquake swarm in the vicinity of the Eagle Mountain Lake Dam? This is an earthen dam ~ already designated as "High" for hazard potential because of the people and property in such close proximity. We will post the reply here when we see or get a response. 
Have a very nice day, y'all.

*2nd UPDATE*   OK. Now we've learned that Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter will conduct a Town Hall in Azle, Texas on January 2, 2014 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM at Azle High School's Auditorium. Here's the News Release:

The Westchester Gasette is certainly glad to see at least one RRC Commissioner coming to North Texas for such an urgent matter!  Stay tuned...

Sunday, November 17, 2013

America's Nightmare?

 Click on this map to enlarge it and see the details.

In case you missed it, we wrote about DRHorton's retention of minerals for their properties last year.  Click here to read about that.

In recent weeks, we have discovered that our Grand Prairie, TX Gas Drilling Ordinance doesn't address the issue of homes being built dangerously close to gas drilling sites AFTER a drilling site is already established.  

Denton Drilling Blog has been writing about this somewhat confusing issue as well.  (Denton, TX currently has a 1,200 Ft. protected use setback, by the way.  Many residents had wanted it to be 1,500 Ft. with the latest revision to their Gas Drilling Ordinance in January 2013.) Read about that here.

Our current Grand Prairie, TX Gas Drilling Ordinance addresses protected use setbacks for already established protected uses...including homes, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, businesses, day care centers. That protected use setback is 700 Feet with a variance of 500 Feet in certain cases that must be approved by City Council. (Our group and city staff had advocated for a 1,000 Ft. setback back in 2011, but unfortunately our City Council decided upon the 700 Ft. setback.) A 1,000 Ft. setback for parks is the current rule (with stipulations).

Here's a Chart available to everyone on the Grand Prairie, TX Web Site and prepared by the Environmental Services Department.  It shows the new provisions enacted when the Revised Gas Drilling Ordinance was voted in on January 18, 2011.  We like the detail it shows for new permits vs. old permits.

The Dangerous Loophole 

The Howell Pad Site is situated several miles north of our Westchester community on Great Southwest Parkway near Jefferson/Abram St.  Surprisingly, the home builder, DRHorton, is not in violation of any current protected use setback requirements (as specified in our current Gas Drilling Ordinance) even though the new homes are dangerously close to the pad site (see the map above). (FYI:  Just for the record, we have learned that the minerals for this particular new DRHorton development were retained by past land owners, not DRHorton. Mineral property is such a tricky business.)

According to our current city Gas Drilling Ordinance, it appears that DRHorton or any developer can build homes  in Grand Prairie as close as they wish to drilling sites when the pad site already exists.  Or maybe they are working off of the 200 Ft. State of Texas protective setback requirement for oil wells in densely populated areas ~ a statewide requirement established long before horizontal drilling?  Not sure.

One would think "America's Builder" would have a stronger sense of ethics about it.  We just don't understand why they don't. And why they didn't ask the city? But wait...this would have been a zoning issue to do with a new housing development, so it must have been presented to the Grand Prairie Planning and Zoning Commission.  Surely P&Z would have seen the problem. Maybe Consent Agenda? We will check on that...

Important: If a drilling rig were up, then people might be more aware. But there has not been a rig up since 2011 according to the Grand Prairie Gas Drilling Status Report (Page 6).

But most people will have no idea what to expect with future drilling operations. This is an URGENT matter that must be addressed by our cities in North Texas.  

What are we doing to our communities and to the families that only want to live the American dream of owning a home? We must address this Critical Issue. NOW

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Shale Gas Industry Funds Grand Prairie, TX City Elections *UPDATE*

*ELECTIONS UPDATE Nov. 5th 8:00 PM Central* RUNOFF 
December 10, 2013 ~ City Council District 3
Kurt Johnson and Lila Thorn
YAY, Kurt!*
*Update December 10, 2013*
Lila Thorn Wins Runoff
Kurt Will Not Run in May. 
That's all folks.

Dateline. Grand Prairie, TX. November 3, 2013: 

News Flash. Let's talk. Has anyone else been wondering about those BIG, Beautiful Signs all around town and those BIG, beautiful, colorful Campaign Flyers in the Mail? Good Grief!!  This is a local election!!  Serious $money$ has been spent!! 

 Right click on this picture to enlarge it.

Another News Flash.  We've heard from several reliable sources that current Grand Prairie, TX Mayor Ron Jensen (who also happens to have Chesapeake shale gas wells on his property) was not endorsing any candidates running for these two races (City Council District 3 and City Council At-Large District 7).  Hmm...We don't think it's simply a coincidence that the same mail company that created first-time city council candidates Thorn and Copeland's flyers also created Mayor Jensen's flyers in the mayoral race last spring (see the picture above)...well, when they call it a SPECIAL Election, we now know what that means!  It's one big happy SPECIAL Family!!

Hopefully, you are still reading because there's a lot more.  We've also discovered that not only did shale gas industry executives from Newark E&P and Beacon E&P heavily fund the chosen candidates (Lila Thorn Total Donations from Oil and Gas reported thus far and from 9/26/13 through October 26, 2013 = $1,000.00 and Jeff Copeland Total Oil and Gas Donations as of 10/26/13 = $10,000.00) but these two candidates spent the BIG BUCKS they received from ALL their donations with a Dallas, TX printer Valentine Direct Marketing

(Note:  Click here to see who the Beacon/Newark shale gas guys are!)

Booker Industries shows on the Campaign Finance Reports (same address as Valentine Direct MarketingClick Here for the 2nd Address for Valentine).  We've linked to the latest finance reports for the two candidates below on Scribd. 

Lila Thorn: $5,625.44  $6,913.62 Advertising Expenses (including signs, flyers AND consulting) with Booker Industries (Valentine Direct Marketing) from 9-26-13 through 10-26-13:

Jeff Copeland: $10,312.31 Advertising Expenses (including signs and mailings) with Booker Industries (Valentine Direct Marketing) from 9-26-13 through 10-26-13:

We'd like to know how this kind of spending is good for Grand Prairie's Economic Development? Wow.  It sure looks as if local businesses lost out big time. Any candidate running against these two SPECIAL candidates (Ms. Thorn and Mr. Copeland) should have been forewarned that the oil and gas industry would make the campaign totally UNFAIR and highly profitable for a Dallas printing and mailing company.

If you haven't already early voted, we still hope you will vote Tuesday, November 5, 2013.  We suggest candidates who didn't receive the BIG BUCKS from shale gas operators hoping to gain favor and votes for expansion of their operations in Grand Prairie.

We have endorsed Kurt Johnson Place 3 and Charlie Womack for Place 7 At-Large.  These two men believe that residential drilling is wrong for our communities. We agree wholeheartedly. 

Please vote Tuesday, November 5, 2013 for Kurt and Charlie
Thank you!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Dateline: Texas. "They've Fracked Our Dams." *Update*

Back in 2010, there was a general feeling from our group in Westchester and individuals and groups in Dallas that there was something bizarre going on at the Joe Pool Lake Reservoir (a man-made Texas lake primarily used for flood control and recreation) in southwestern Dallas County, Texas.
Joe Pool Lake Dam and Spillway (December 27, 2010) 

The story about Joe Pool Lake mineral leases being flipped by Bernie Madoff in New York and elsewhere was already quite the buzz back then. Then something else began to brew in early 2011 that encouraged our group.  And then there was silence for awhile.

It was a very HOT and DRY Texas summer in 2011, Epic Drought and all.  Even so, according to our neighbors backing up to the Corn Valley drilling site, Chesapeake seemed to be conducting some kind of prepping activity there.  After seeing something curious come across our Twitter feed on June 24, 2011, we were flummoxed.  The heat had gotten to us.  We finally decided to submit an Open Records Request (ORR) to our City on July 25, 2011 seeking any correspondence with USACE and the City about the dam.  We received the results of that ORR on August 3, 2011.  The ORR contained a somewhat surprising letter dated February 25, 2011 to the City of Grand Prairie from USACE.  All the documents seemed disjointed, at best, which is often the case for Open Records Requests. Then, while we were trying to make some sense out of all of it...

On September 6, 2011, the City of Grand Prairie passed its own Moratorium on all drilling activities within 3,000 feet of Joe Pool Lake Dam.  And that seemed to stop the pending activity from Chesapeake in its tracks.  Fast forward to September 3, 2013 ~ USACE has continued their Moratorium to request that the City of Grand Prairie keep in force the city's Moratorium and recently requested they extend it for another year (through September 2014) to complete the nationwide study on this new "unconventional" drilling technology being conducted near their dams. As  result, Grand Prairie recently extended its own city-wide Moratorium for the 4th time as of September 3, 2013.*

Oh, and the new GIS Map viewer on the RRC Web site offers a lot more vivid detail than the older one does. We see that USACE-controlled Lake Benbrook Dam looks to be surrounded, with no way out, in our opinion. (We've added some labels to the Screen Shot.)  

Click to Enlarge the Screen Shot for this GIS Map:

Important documents we've referenced on the GIS Map (above):

Enough for now. 

*Update*:  Stay tuned for an update to the current Moratorium. Of course, it's a doozy.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Zone of Exclusion?

Click here to review the Texas Resource Management Plan (1996) defining the Zones of Exclusion for oil and gas exploration and extraction near USACE-managed dams in the State of Texas. Page 21 for Lake Benbrook's Dam.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

APPLAUSE!! Happy 3rd Anniversary to the Westchester Gasette.

We launched the Westchester Gasette blog on September 8, 2010. It's been a very wild and often strange ride.

Click here to see our very first blog post exactly 3 years ago today.

It's simply a video about land farming elsewhere in North Texas created by Texas Sharon.  It features a very nice, soothing song. 

Thank you for joining us for this journey into gasland over these past 3 years. There's lots of water under that bridge.

Or rather (thankfully) lots of water remaining behind the Joe Pool Lake Dam.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Perforating the Horizontal Wellbore: The Documentary

"...ballistics systems that help optimize the value of oil and gas assets."

Our Grand Prairie, TX Gas Drilling Ordinance doesn't appear to address this issue. Since it hasn't been updated since January 18, 2011, we think it's about time for a revision. How many of these PERF Jobs have been conducted already near our communities? Dare we ask? 

Here's what a PERF Gun contains (Be sure to scroll down through ALL 11 pages of our SCRIBD document.)  There are too many skulls and crossbones, in our opinion:

Also, click here to read the story and the comments on Bluedaze, today. 

Thank you for stopping by.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Rest in Peace Mrs. Jackson.

City Councilwoman Mrs. Ruthe Jackson died today. It is a sad day for our city.
She Loved Grand Prairie, TX and We Loved Her. 

Our Joyful Hymn of Praise. Amen.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Steve Lipsky's Water is On Fire from Recent Fracking ~ RRC Says, "No, It's Not!"

Featured in the Debut of  Josh Fox's "Gasland 2" on HBO Earlier Tonight.  It will run at various times all week. 
Watch carefully, as Steve Lipsky's water catches on fire.  
Thank you to WFAA's Award-Winning Journalist 
Brett Shipp 
for this important report earlier this year.

Click Here to read all about the Imminent and Substantial Endangerment Order issued by the EPA for this methane contaminated water well in the backyard of the Lipsky's. (December 7, 2010.)

Saturday, July 06, 2013

WOW! Solar Impulse ~ The First Trip Across America 2013

Happening Now. Zero Fossil Fuels Used. 
Livestreaming NOW. July 6, 2013
"[...]Zero-fuel airplane's epic flight to New York live! 
Check out the triumphant conclusion of the historic crossing of the United States with the world's first airplane able to fly day and night without fuel!

Solar Impulse, a project born in Switzerland, is ending its Across America mission that started exactly two months ago at NASA's Moffett Airfield at the heart of Silicon Valley.  

This epic in stages that led the solar plane to Phoenix (AZ), Dallas (TX), St. Louis (MO) and Washington D.C. is now coming to an end with the scheduled landing at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport sometime after 2AM EDT (UTC-4) on Sunday July 7th 2013. Watch the entire flight live starting one hour before take-off -- around 3:30AM EDT (UTC-4). The live streaming includes interviews with pilots and project Co-founders André Borschberg from the cockpit and Bertrand Piccard from the ground, reruns of the mission flights and interviews with Solar Impulse team members."[...] (~ From the Solar Impulse LiveStream)

Click here to visit the Solar Impulse YouTube Channel for incredible videos of this first solar flight across America!!

Thursday, May 09, 2013

And the Winner Is ~ Mayor Dr. Bob Cluck is the Best of the Worst in North Texas!

We don't fully understand all the upset about bike trails by these Arlington, TX residents.   

But we do understand being upset by time limitations during Public Meetings.  

Any North Texas Mayor who proclaims, 
"I'll Smile If I Want To!"   
deserves the Prize and All the Kudos.

Therefore, Mayor Cluck is the Winner! Hands Down.

Beginning in the summer of 2011, it seems the Arlington, Texas City Council and especially the Mayor went off the tracks. Click on over to the Fishcreek Monitor to see some more of that derailment. In the world of public administration, this is probably a textbook version of what you don't want to happen. But it did. And it's a lesson in politics. People like to be heard no matter what their viewpoints. If politicians in America don't want to listen, maybe they need to do something else. Or move to another country.

If you haven't already voted early, be sure to vote this Saturday, May 11, 2013!  In Texas, it's now one of the few things we own that can't be taken by private industry via eminent domain.  

Hold on to it with your dear life. 

Official Notice for the Grand Prairie, TX Municipal Elections:

Precinct Locations.  VOTE!


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Chairman Smitherman Tweets Bag of Deer Pellets Made in West, TX

Editor's Comment:  

We have no idea how tweeting a picture of a bag of deer pellets to the "Central Texas Sportsman" is supposed to provide any kind of comfort and help to fellow Texans in West, TX ~  following the catastrophic explosion that killed at least 14 first responders on Wednesday night. 

Here's the Tweet that Chairman Smitherman probably won't be making. 

Be sure to click on the Reuters link to read the story.

Thanks to GFLakeGasWatch, gardencatlady and Fishcreek Neighbor for tweeting about this with us today. We appreciate their concern and many others who retweeted and replied.  All of us want answers to what happened in West, TX.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

"This Gas Is So Clean...It Goes Directly to the Dr. Pepper Bottling Plant in Dallas." ~ Tom Blanton, Trinity East **UPDATE**

Irving, TX City Council. Thank you.

**UPDATE** December 13, 2015 ~ In light of the Irving/Dallas Quakeswarm that began to kick in by 2014 on the "eastern" border of Irving, go to 48:56 to hear the beginning of the discussion about the "Monstrous" Fault on the "western" edge of Irving, Texas. Watch the entire video to hear some amazing information from an O&G industry executive asked to fill in many blanks for a North Texas City Council.

Go to 8:00 to Hear the Dr. Pepper Declaration from Tom Blanton of Trinity East/EXPRO Engineering/Keystone Exploration. Listen to ALL of this Irving, TX City Council Meeting Briefing 2 weeks ago ~ if you can. It may open your eyes to some gas-industry spin that has successfully managed to "git er done" all across North Texas.  We note how Mr. Blanton refers to "The Luna Site," [sic] as if it's already been approved by the City of Dallas. 

(The day after this March 20, 2013 meeting, the Dallas City Plan Commission voted down the 3 Permits once again. 8-7; 9-6; and 9-6.  The Dallas City Council will now need to have 12 votes out of 15 to approve these permits. That vote has NOT been scheduled at this time.)

This was by far some of the best questioning of the industry we've heard by a City Council in the Barnett Shale ~ and all of it in broad daylight!

Note: Mr. Blanton refers to a "Perfect Seal" at around 20 Minutes. And how there is "no way that a fresh water zone could have been contaminated by a production casing failure."  Oh, and at 22 minutes be sure to hear Mr. Blanton tell Councilman Gallaway how many wells Trinity East has drilled IN TOTAL. Be amazed. It's all quite revealing. 

According to Mr. Blanton, Trinity East wants to drill and frack 60 shale gas wells on 3 Sites at the borderline of Irving and Dallas in Dallas City Limits. This includes construction of a Processing Plant and/or a Refinery 1/2 mile from North Hills Prep in Irving and at the Northwest Entryway to the City of Dallas.

In Summary:  Trinity East has drilled a total of 12 wells in the Barnett Shale and 100 wells in Texas.  Two (2) wells were drilled at the border of Irving and Dallas by Trinity East in 2008 and 2009, respectively.  The Dallas Lease's well FAILED. Trinity East now wants approval (from Dallas) to drill up to 60 wells (in the Trinity floodplain) after having that production casing FAILURE (during fracking) at 3400 Tom Braniff in 2009.

See this previous Westchester Gasette blog post about the Trinity East "FRAC Job" casing failure.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A BAD FRAC Job Rears Its Ugly Head ~ Trinity East's "Fracking" Failure on THIS Dallas Lease's Well in 2009. *UPDATE*

Scroll Down to Page 11 in the Document Below for an Explanation of the (previously unknown) Dallas Well's FRAC Job FAILURE in 2009:

On today's Agenda for the Dallas City Planning Commission is a FINAL Decision on three (3) 
TRINITY EAST Permits Including a Massive Polluting Processing Facility at the Northwestern Entryway to the City of Dallas, Texas. 


Thursday, March 21, 2013. Dallas City Hall. 1:00 PM
1500 Marilla. 6th Floor.  Amen.


*Update*  So, here's what Trinity East wants to do next!! What kind of madness is this?! If someone does a bad job do you continue to do business with them just because you have a contract? Isn't there a way out of this bad business deal?? What the He**??

Click here to view the CPC Agenda for March 21, 2013.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Riddle Me This. *Update Clue #3* on the Dallas, TX Drilling Debacle

What's wrong with this picture?
  Clue #1:  Click Here 

*Update*   Good guess by Fish Creek Neighbor in the comments. 
  • Acreage is Missing from this Signage. (Texas law requires acreage to be accurately listed on the sign ~  if you read all about it at the link above.) 

Clue #2: Click Here


Clue #3: