Fracking ordinance updates: Public comments invited Thursday, Sept. 12

frackingworks_1They drilled in Fort Worth first, because the shale isn’t as deep. It will be more expensive and harder to get at in Dallas, but gas drilling via hydraulic fracturing is creeping east.

To prepare, Dallas City Council appointed a task force comprising industry experts, citizens and environmentalists. Over eight months the task force attended intense briefings, visited drilling sites, and studied city ordinances across the state and beyond. Over the past summer, they have made recommendations to update Dallas’s ordinance, which is currently sparse and much less detailed than the complicated subject demands.

At issue are questions of how close a drilling site can be to homes or schools: either 300 ft. (Dallas’s current requirement), or 600 ft (Ft Worth’s requirement) or 1000 ft. (the Dallas Task Force recommendation.) Additional topics include rules about soil testing, air quality, noise and light pollution, water quality, aesthetic screening, waste removal, and how much insurance a drilling company must carry.

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Despite the enormous slate of concerns, the Plan Commission is getting closer to a recommendation to City Council. Even though Mayor Rawlings is on record saying he doesn’t believe a city is the right place for gas drilling, there will be a governing ordinance in Dallas. Speak now or complain later. Donna Moorman, Senior Planner at the City’s Department of Sustainable Development and Construction, told me that there may be one more chance for the public to comment after Thursday, but it’s likely the Council will be voting on final recommendations as early as October of this year.

For an agenda and more information see the City of Dallas website.

If you go, be aware that the gas drilling ordinance discussion will be the last item discussed.

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Dallas City Plan Commission meeting; Public Hearing at City Council Chambers at 1:30 pm on Thursday, Sept. 12.

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