I am extremely familiar with natural gas drilling in Lewisville. I retired from Atlantic Richfield Oil & Gas and Atlantic Richfield Exploration Company (ARCO), so I have a solid background in oil and gas drilling and exploration. As such, my position isn’t about “not drilling”, a broad-brush and utterlt false claim my opponent has attempted to paint me with to pander for votes. I have instead promoted responsible drilling, proving gas exploration can coexist with our neighborhoods so that both can succeed. In the December election, voters overwhelming recognized that I had the right ideas over my repeat opponent, and that I know how to put them into real action.
Besides serving on the City of Lewisville’s Oil & Gas Ordinance Stakeholders Committee for over a year, I successfully organized the opposition to the B&H permit due to its location immediately next to Fox Creek homes. Our group became the largest crowd City Hall had ever seen. Tht effort also led the same driller to withdraw their permit request for a site next to Memorial Park and find a more acceptable location south of 3040. It did not stopped drilling, nor as it intended to. But it did successfully avoid potential lawsuits for the city while protection neighborhoods from loss of property value and undue safety risks.
I am president of a grassroots organization known as Lewisville Neighbors for Responsible Urban Drilling (LNRUD). That word “Responsible” was important to me from the day we formed the organization, because I am not anti-drilling. LNRUD’s goals reflect my position: gas drilling should take all precautions to protect property and neighborhood values, our citizens’ health and safety, and the environment.
Suitable drill sites are simply not next door to dense housing areas, parks, schools, hospitals, shopping centers, or other areas protected by law. I have fought hard to allow gas drilling in our city so that mineral rights holders can receive their due royalties while viewing drilling as an industrial process to be conducted in an area suited to industrial plants.
If you support the idea of mineral royalties and you support the idea of preservation of neighborhood property values, health and safety, or you support either position, the solutions I advocate fully represent your interests. I conceived and pushed to adoption a win-win approach, and expect that will continue to be the direction for our community. I have proven that I understand how to succeed with that plan, not just talk about drilling without any knowledge, or ignore neighborhood consequences, or do little more than criticize from the sidelines.
It is additionally naïve to think we don’t learn something new every day about gas drilling, and can use that knowledge to improve our ordinances. And it is naïve to think that technology related to this industry is not a constantly moving target, allowing us to better monitor and control risks to protect our citizens.
As described in my issues page on Water Conservation, I would restrict high-volume water usage during water conservation periods above the voluntary level, and that would include gas well fracking. We should not ask citizens to do what we will not ask businesses to do in Lewisville. I have also proposed forbidding the use of trucks to bring in and remove frack water during the same periods after statewide studies have shown this added heavy truck traffic is creating untold damage to roads well beyond what fees recoup. By TxDOT’s calculations, each new well drilling creates the traffic equivalent of about 8 million cars, plus 2 million cars per year for maintenance. Since a truck carrying water, coming or going, is quite heavy, the road damage is not trivial.
I have also been pushing since well before my first election for improved the details in the “best practices” section of well permit applications so that vague and general language will be replaced by specifics that detail what the drillers intend to do for the safety, emission control and monitoring of their sites in a way that can be verified. In a related area, I will continue to push for full disclosure of all chemicals used in the fracking of each well.
I want to see improved VOC emission controls coupled with 24/7 monitoring of VOC emissions released into the atmosphere that our citizens breathe. Without continuous monitoring, it is nearly impossible to know when and to what extent fugitive emissions occur. Periodic interval testing hardly begins to address the reality of accidental (but at the reportable level) events.
Similarly, I want to see routine frequent testing of nearby water wells, beginning before drilling commences, to evaluate water quality and spot fracking contamination in conjunction with the disclosed list of frack chemicals. I also want a level of compressor station monitoring to avoid explosions such as the one that took place at a Williams-operated site in the Marcellus Shale on March 29, 2012 so that a similar accident doesn’t happen in at Lewisville’s compressor location near Duncan and 3040.
At the end of the day, there is no such thing as being too careful when considering people’s lives, well-being and property. Anything less is selling the public short, and for what justifiable reason I can’t imagine other than pandering to the interests of drilling companies. Let’s be honest: drilling companies are in Lewisville temporarily, but our citizens who are impacted by any negligence or shortcuts will suffer the consequences for many decades to come. And the U.S. is in the midst of a true natural gas glut, comfirmed by severly depressed prices created by oversupply, so the old notion that we must make way for dilling at all costs and ignore anyconsequences is completely outdated.
Ask yourself: If gas driller were totally safe and completely respectful of the environment, water and health, why would they need the endless and intensive TV ad campaigns to convince you of how your best interests are theirs, too – as if profits, increased by cutting costs, were the farthest thing from their mind? For myself, I believe in a simple policy that my opponent’s libertarian ‘whatever-goes’ drilling viewpoint doesn’t encompass: trust, but regulate and verify.
Only one candidate in this race has positively affected protection of property values and public safety while also allowing drilling to proceed in safe areas, and only one candidate has a proven track record of understanding the big picture of how to move our City forward for the benefit of all concerned.
I am that one candidate.