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Group, council member seek regulations in Dallas gas drilling

March 11, 2011

DMNfracking2WFAA News Dallas
Gary Reaves

DALLAS – While drilling for gas in the Barnett Shale has made some people rich, others have claimed it has made them ill. The drilling hasn’t started in Dallas, yet. However, it’s coming soon, bringing along controversy over how to regulate the drilling.

This week, five city council members pushed to get a much talked about gas drilling task force on the agenda for next month. Now, one group of environmentalists has taken to foot in their attempt to ramp up the pressure.

Lake Highlands is on the opposite side of the city from where gas drilling is planned. Staffers from the Texas Campaign for the Environment have hit the area, going door to door. They’re looking for supporters willing to pressure council members into creating tough regulations on gas drilling.

The group wants wells at least 1,000 feet from homes, schools, businesses and water supplies.

“We’re asking for meaningful air and water monitoring,” said Jeffery Jacoby, with the Texas Campaign for the Environment. “We’re asking for the city, on the company’s dime, to hire an inspector like many cities across the metroplex have done.”

Right now, the separation is 300 feet. WFAA reached out to several major drillers on the issue, but none responded officially, although, one spokesman said the companies like the law just like it is.

“I’m not hearing a lot from the industry,” said city council member Angela Hunt.

She is pushing for a task force of citizens and experts to recommend the right regulations

“What are the setbacks?” she said of questions she wants answered. “What is appropriate? Is this a technology we want to see in an urban environment?”

In Lake Highlands, support for that seems easy to find.

“I would not raise my kids next to a gas station,” one mother said. “I do not want them near a gas well.”


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