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!