Tuesday, September 16, 2014

City of Grand Prairie, TX Should HALT Extraction at the Lynn Unit *UPDATE*

 The Zone of Exclusion for the Joe Pool Lake Dam
Click on the Map to View the Details.
Map from the City of Grand Prairie, Texas 9.16.14 Agenda Packet
(Note: There are 3 Producing Shale Gas Wells on XTO's Lynn Unit.)

So, here's the latest.  During tonight's Grand Prairie, TX City Council Meeting (Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 6:30 PM)  (Click on that link ~ go to the Consent Agenda, Item 29 on the Full Agenda Tab) the Council will extend the Moratorium on all Gas Drilling activities within 3,000 ft. of all water retention structures in the city limits through October 1, 2015. This Moratorium was first put in place on September 6, 2011 and has been extended every 6 months to a year since that time.

Apparently, USACE (United States Army Corps of Engineers) is not ready to release their National Study just yet.  These things take time and lots of review before they become public.  We have been told by district personnel for USACE that Joe Pool Lake Dam is the centerpiece of this study.

So, now we must ask this question:  What about the Lynn Unit?  If there is a Moratorium on ALL gas drilling activities, then why isn't there the same Moratorium on "Extraction" aka "Production"?  

The Corps asked the City of Grand Prairie, TX to halt production (extraction) as part of the Moratorium at the Lynn Unit one year ago.  And to our knowledge, production for the 3 XTO wells in production at this site has continued.  The City told the Corps that it was their call, not the city's call.

So, whose call is it, anyway?

In light of the 3 Earthquakes in North Texas since last week (in adjacent cities to Grand Prairie), 2 in Arlington, TX and 1 in Irving, TX ~  
Earthquake #1 in Arlington, TX on Sunday, September 7, 2014:

Earthquake #2 in Irving, TX on Thursday, September 11, 2014:

Earthquake #3 in Arlington, TX on Friday, Sept 12, 2014:
Isn't it time to HALT all production within 3,000 ft. of the Joe Pool Lake Dam and within 3,000 Ft. of ALL Dams in North Texas with shale gas production in the zone?  

These EXCLUSION ZONES were established by the United States government via the Corps of Engineers' *New* Southwest District Policy released on March 17, 2011 and the much earlier 1996 Bureau of Land Management guidelines for oil and gas drilling activities near USACE-managed Dams. We have blogged about it extensively on the Westchester Gasette.

This is clearly one more Elephant in the Room.  But it's way past time to deal with this BIG one that can impact so many lives in one fell swoop. Extraction causes seismicity. Extraction causes earthquakes. Why risk this in such densely populated areas?

EARTH to City of Grand Prairie, TX:

Stop Production/Extraction on the 3 producing wells at the Lynn Unit. Thank You.

**UPDATE**: Read IMPORTANT Information regarding the Original Moratorium and the new Texas 
House Bill 40 Here:

Friday, July 25, 2014

210 West Camp Wisdom Road, Grand Prairie, TX (*Updated*)

It's been awhile since we blogged about this now "plugged Chesapeake well."  Over 3 Months later and there's still no housing construction activity on this now former drilling site that had been the source for so much controversy over the years.  

Well #1H API #42-113-30195
Corn Valley A Lease

As you may recall, this private land (about 19 17 acres) was suddenly being promoted by a "Housing Developer" who hadn't really completed any MAJOR housing developments anywhere.  He had a "Yahoo" account for his business e-mail address.  Yee Haw!!  He was asking for a "Zoning Change" from "Retail/Commercial Development" to "Residential Development." After some debate, this "Zoning Change" was eventually approved by Grand Prairie's City Council on May 20, 2014.

Yes.  It's true. A gas drilling site was "Zoned" Retail Commercial at some point in the past.  It was never zoned "Industrial." So much for "Zoning."

For the recent background for this story, click here, here, and here.

Strangely, we had never seen any photographic evidence of the FRAC Job for the Corn Valley A Lease Well #1H from back in early 2011.  (Neighbors didn't obtain photographic evidence at that time.) And we questioned all of that a few months ago.  (See the blog posts linked to above.)

In the meantime, we discovered that the Grand Prairie, TX Interactive Aerial Google Map for the drilling site's address (210 W. Camp Wisdom Road) does show the site and the FRAC tanks in place for a FRAC Job.  (Plug in the Address and Check "Gas Wells" under General Info at the link. Then at the top scroll over to "Aerial View.") Wow. For a 3-day operation, this FRAC Job seems to have become a permanent fixture for this land and its history.  Good

 Click on the map to see the bigger picture (with added text and labels).

BUT is it for real, or is it Photoshopped? We think it's odd that we are seeing this FRAC Job operation on a current map. Odd and weird.  The Railroad Commission couldn't be certain this well had ever been hydraulically fractured as we blogged about it on April 10th.  The well had been shut in for 3 years without a sales (gas gathering) pipeline primarily because of the efforts of the Westchester Grand Prairie Community Alliance. (*Update* June 14, 2015: The RRC had no records of Well 1H being fracked because there was no state law requiring "Fracking Dates" until February 1, 2012...but we now believe this well was completed (fracked) in the last week of January 2011 and the RRC just hadn't ever seen a well completed and then plugged without production. Funny that.)

The Alliance had pointed out (in late 2011 and early 2012) that there was a "Moratorium" on ALL gas drilling activities within 3,000 FT of ALL water retention structures inside City Limits. We ALSO pointed out (during City Council Hearings) that adding a pipeline would be in "violation" of the city's own "Moratorium."  We were surprised by the city's attempts to get this pipeline hooked up...very surprised. Shocked, really. Good Grief!

The city also told us that there was all sorts of oversight while this well was finally being plugged just this past April 4, 2014. 

Paperwork (the Form W-3) was said to be completed/signed by the Railroad Commission while their inspector(s) was/were present and even Grand Prairie's Gas Well Inspector was said to be present for the operation conducted by Chesapeake.  

Seriously? There were city and/or state "witnesses" to the plugging operation as it actually happened over a 5-day period??  As the saying kinda goes,

"Fool me once, shame on you ~ fool me twice, shame on me."

We think there's been more than enough foolin' and downright goofin' with all of this. Amen.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

VoilĂ !! Let's Just Cover it Up with NEW Homes!! *UPDATE*

Developing Story...(*Updated*)
Click on this Picture to see the BIG Picture. 

And, NOW Click on this PICTURE below to see the 
BIGGER Picture.

Just to follow-up on this story, the City Council Public Hearing on this "Zoning Change" from Retail (yes, a gas drilling site was zoned as "Retail" when any amount of common sense says it should have been "Zoned" as "Industrial") was conducted on April 15, 2014 and ended with a VOTE to Table. 

The SECOND Public Hearing on this Zoning Change will occur tonight, May 20th, 2014, 6:30 PM at Grand Prairie, TX City Hall.

Here's the Agenda for Tonight's Meeting (See Item 37 on Page 9 of the Agenda Below):

A Public Meeting was conducted on May 8th at the Betty Warmack Library on Bardin Road. 

We learned from that meeting:
  • NO Soil or Groundwater Testing will be conducted for this land that was used for shale gas mining operations beginning in 2010.  "City staff" told us that the city would have to pay $60,000 for that and, of course, that's too much!!  
  •  In addition, we were told at that meeting that Disclosure will NOT be required for any developer who builds new "Homes" or "Anything" on this damaged land.


It's not over, 'til it's over.  AND Just to make it perfectly clear, the Westchester Gasette is your source for reporting Barnett Shale bizarro, irresponsible and potentially deadly decision-making by North Texas city leaders and their city managers.


*UPDATE*:  We now believe Corn Valley Well 1H was perfed and fracked beginning somewhere around January 27, 2011.  (RRC records refer to it as an "unperfed" completion since not all leases were obtained.)  Due to a death in our Westchester family and extremely cold weather conditions, attention was elsewhere and so no pictures were obtained during the time frame for this FRAC job. But we are assured that this well was completed even though the Kilgore District Office of the Railroad Commission of Texas has no record of it due to no rules/requirements for Completion (Perfing/Fracking) paperwork in place at that time. (Westchester Neighbor. June 15, 2015)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Corn Valley Drilling Site ~ Drilled, Perforated, Hydraulically Fractured...*UPDATE: Question from P&Z Commissioner*

AND PLUGGED as of April 4, 2014  
(Confirmed by RRC, District 5 Office, Kilgore, TX)

Planning & Zoning Voted April 7, 2014 for a "Zoning Change" to Build NEW Homes on top of the same land that still holds the infamous FRAC Pond and is right next to the Corn Valley Drilling Site...

Do you think we can put this genie back in the bottle?

Take a look at the paper below...seems industry pros are not so sure about the plug:

Excerpt (Page 12): 
Horizontal wells
  • The horizontal orientations introduce different gravitational effects compared with vertical wells. In a typical vertical well, where there is a large column of cement, some migration of the solids downward or the water upward does not cause a significant change in the cement properties. In a horizontal well, the solids migrating to the bottom of the section and the water migrating to the top can provide areas of the well that do not have a complete seal. If the water in the cement separates from the mixture before the cement is set, it can migrate to the top of the wellbore and form a channel along the top of the wellbore which can allow migration of formation fluids. If the solids in the cement mixture settle to the bottom of the cement before the cement can harden,the solids can cause the cement to not set up correctly and the weakened area along the bottom of the wellbore can fail under pressure during stimulation activities. (Salehi and Paiaman, 2009).

Well Plugging and Abandonment Paper from a National Petroleum Council Study (9.15.11) by Westchester Gasette

The long history of the Corn Valley Drilling Site seemed to be coming to an end after last Monday's 8-0 Planning and Zoning Vote. However, we were baffled when watching the re-play of the meeting...baffled as to why there was no mention from anyone about the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and Grand Prairie, TX MORATORIUM. And with some of the other statements during that meeting.

Here's a link below to the P & Z meeting.  Go to 39:51 to watch and see this discussion that never mentions the Moratorium. (We can't get the embedding code to work. It never has worked on the city's web site.)

Here's the link to the entire meeting ~ Scroll to 39:51: 

April 7, 2014 P&Z Meeting

As a reminder, this drilling site's well is 850 feet (literally across the street) from the Joe Pool Lake Dam and Spillway.  A 3,000 Ft. Exclusion Zone for drilling activities near USACE dams was in place since 1996, but it was ignored by Chesapeake. Or they didn't know about it. Or they didn't care about it. They told the city that USACE knew about their plans back in 2010.

That controversy has had many headlines over the years and yet this Planning and Zoning Commission made no mention of any of that.  Was the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) informed about the planned plugging of the horizontal gas well? Seems that is definitely a gas well drilling activity.  There was a workover rig on the site as you can see from our previous Westchester Gasette blog post, here.

So...this zoning change was approved so that a developer can build 55 homes right there in the shadow of the spillway and dam and atop the drilling site.  Interesting that this housing developer made a derogatory statement about our Westchester Association of Homeowners.  How very weird was that?  And more weirdness followed. Watch the meeting at the link above. Oh, what a tangled web. 

We'll have more about all of this and other developments, soon.  

It's always a doozy in gasland.

Friday, April 04, 2014

After a Lengthy Community Battle ~ Chesapeake "Officially" Leaving Westchester

Almost Gone
But Never Forgotten...

Our Joe Pool Lake Dam and Spillway 
Appears to Be Watching Over (lower left) 
Chesapeake's Plugging of the
Corn Valley Drilling Site's Well 1H
 210 W. Camp Wisdom, Grand Prairie, Texas
April 1, 2014

From the moment Chesapeake's Landmen came to South Grand Prairie, TX (in Southwestern Dallas County) and began encouraging homeowners to sign over their mineral property (around 2007 and for as little as $150.00) most of us had no idea what our community was in for. 

Thank you, Westchester-Grand Prairie Community Alliance, for all the hard work over the past 4 years.  Recommending changes to the city's Gas Drilling Ordinance was a daunting task that we all worked  hard to accomplish.  We were motivated, in part, when Chesapeake dug out the monster FRAC Pond right behind Rosemary Reed's home and behind others' homes in the Westchester Valley neighborhood ~  without notice on a very HOT, August Saturday and Sunday in 2010.  

Since most all of our neighbors on Donnie Lane had refused to sign leases, that alone was an insult. The operation shook the homes and caused sheer TERROR for our Westchester Valley neighbors.  

We understand that two of our neighbors (with already compromised immune systems) died within weeks of the FRAC Job conducted 537 feet from their back fences in January 2011. With that in mind, there is very recent news that the Flower Mound, Texas cancer cluster needs another look by our state and country. Read and see that story here.

Of course, the amount of dirt and dust generated by the digging operation for the "Fresh Water" FRAC Pond, alone, would compromise very healthy immune systems.  May our Westchester neighbors rest in peace.

A community-wide meeting organized by WAHO and held at the Oaks Baptist Church drew hundreds of our South Grand Prairie, TX neighbors on July 19, 2010 with reps from environmental groups, the city, Chesapeake and even the Mayor of Dish, TX (Mayor Calvin Tillman). But none of this swayed Chesapeake whatsoever to reconsider what they were proposing at the southern entryway to our Westchester neighborhoods. 

By the way, we understand that a housing developer has already expressed plans to purchase the land from the church with the ever-changing name immediately next to the Corn Valley Drilling Site and build beautiful, new homes.  Yes, that's right. 

The fact that this same land at 210 W. Camp Wisdom sits 850 Ft. from the mighty Joe Pool Lake Dam and Spillway is also a concern.  As you might guess, we do have several issues with all of this and we will be discussing it here on the blog in more detail, soon.

As has always been the case, many of the specifics about neighborhood, unconventional drilling operations have never received proper discussion in our city or state's public square.  Recent man-made earthquakes in the Azle, TX area northwest of Fort Worth seem to have caused the Railroad Commission of Texas to go off its sturdy, old tracks.

For now, we are keeping a close watch on the "Plugging Operation." And we'll assume that Chesapeake is following the Railroad Commission of Texas Rules. Oh, click here for the Approved Cementers, as of April 3, 2014.  (Wow! That was just yesterday. )
Click here for the Texas Statewide Rule §3.14 for Plugging.  We are not aware of any Grand Prairie, TX specifics for "plugging" according to the GP Gas Drilling Ordinance. But we are always open to enlightenment. We do hope Chesapeake and the Cementers do it right.  We have every confidence they will!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

TX State Senator Kelly Hancock says, "Wow! It's a Liberal Runaway Train!"

Kelly Hancock, Grand Prairie and Westchester's Republican representative in the Texas Senate (at least portions of it) (District 9) (see the map below) is apparently alright with some name calling with the "L" word.

A road collapsing very near or in Mr. Hancock's district (hard to know by looking at the configuration of the weirdly-drawn Republican district) inspires him to criticize those who dare discuss this bad news.  

So, Mr. Hancock, we say, "Wow." We think our "Wow" makes more sense since we thought your job was to make Texas laws to protect us from infrastructure failures.  

Once again, "WOW!"

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Vapors, Storage Tanks, Static Electricity = Catastrophic Explosion.

This photo provided by Nathan Hergert shows a fire burning at an oil and gas drilling site near Greeley, Colo., on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Static electricity is being blamed for the massive explosion and fire at the oil and gas drilling site north of Greeley that injured two workers. 
(AP Photo/Nathan Hergert)

By Monte Whaley The Denver Post Posted: 03/04/2014 10:44:09 AM MST 

Fire crews used a foam retardant to mostly extinguish a massive fire at an oil-and-gas-drilling site north of Greeley on Monday night. 

An explosion that could have been started by static electricity rocked neighbors out of their beds at about 11:20 p.m. Monday. 

The resulting fire was seen for miles. "We were getting ready for bed, and the whole house shook," said Liz Hegert, a resident in the area, told the Greeley Tribune.

The fire came from a drilling site about 2 miles east of Lucerne near Weld County Roads 27 and 70. The Eaton Fire Protection District as well as crews from Windsor-Severance Fire Protection District and the city of Greeley responded. 


The exact cause of the blaze has yet to be determined, he said. But it could have started as workers were pulling a water/oil mixture out of storage tanks on site to take to a separator.  Static electricity may have set off the vapors. 

 "That is a distinct possibility," Kane said.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Breaking News...The Town Hall Commences in Azle, TX

Dateline: North TX 
Railroad Commission of Texas Comes to Azle for the 
First Town Hall in North TX about the 
Earthquake Swarm ~

In Progress...No Livestreaming. 
Updates as we have them.
Click here to read the earlier story on the Westchester Gasette if you don't know what this is all about. 

Stay tuned...