Fort Worth Communities Confront Corporate Colonization

by Peter Gorman, Fort Worth Weekly

When a natural gas pipeline blew outside the little town of Stairtown, Tex., Aug. 28, 2008, fire officials more than 10 miles from the blast site says they could feel the explosion. And hair went up on thousands of necks in Fort Worth, more than 225 miles away from the blast.

“That was a 36-inch gas pipe that blew,” says Gary Hogan, a member of the Fort Worth Gas Drilling Task Force that’s trying to come up with some ordinances to better regulate safety and environmental impacts related to gas drilling in the Barnett Shale geological formation that lies below 19 counties in North Texas. These include both Dallas and Tarrant County, which covers Fort Worth. But it is what locals call “the Fort,” with its large rail yards and more suburban-style layout, which has become the test case for urban drilling.

“We’ve got 36-inch gas pipes running all over the place under the city, and we’re going to have a lot more soon,” Hogan says. “I don’t want to think about what that would have meant if it had happened here.”

As it was, the explosion, in a rural area, left no one hurt. But the same explosion, occurring downtown, would have been devastating. So would dozens of other gas well and pipeline explosions that have rocked Texas in the last year. It was just one more grim reminder that what residents were told when the landmen first came knocking on Fort Worth’s doors a few years back offering money for mineral rights was not the whole story of gas well drilling.

What wasn’t told includes everything from the number of trucks needed to put up a rig and drill a well—and the damage they do to street—to the thousands of miles of new pipelines that will soon be laid under our city, and the fact that eminent domain can be used to secure the land in which to lay them.

“There’s so much we weren’t told, it’s hard to know where to begin,” says Liane Janovsky, a lawyer who became an activist in her Ryan Place historic neighborhood in South Fort Worth two years ago.

Who knew that odorless gas would be running through pipelines beneath city streets, or that those pipelines corrode from the inside becoming more dangerous the older they get? Who knew that gas companies would condemn private property and even homes to secure convenient pipeline routes? Or that compressor stations—where water and other by-products of drilling are removed from the natural gas—would dot the city, and that they give off poisonous gas and need to run 24-7 at loud decibel levels? And who could have guessed that some of the things that give the Fort her charm—like the Trinity Trees, an historic grove on the banks of the Trinity River, partially destroyed to make way for gas wells last January—would come under the gun? Or that despite a 600-foot automatic protective spacing between well heads and homes, landowners platting out new housing developments would permit wells to be drilled prior to the homes going up—putting new homeowners as close as 200 feet to a potentially explosive well?

The fact is that John Q Public keeps discovering new and disturbing elements to the business of gas wells. By the time 8,000 wells have been dug within Loop 820—the city core—residents fear Fort Worth will not be the city they once knew. More than 880 have been drilled since 2005 within the Loop, more than 650 were approved in 2008, more than 1,500 are in the pipeline for approval, and more than 5,000 have been broached

Janovsky got involved right after she discovered that eight gas wells were planned along the 8th Ave. train tracks, just across the street from her neighborhood’s stately and historic gates. At the time she was against the drilling for a number of reasons: increased traffic, noise pollution, roads being ruined, home devaluation, and, scariest of all, the possibility of explosions if train sparks come in contact with leaking gas. Now, despite those wells having been moved under community pressure away from the historic neighborhoods of Berkeley, Ryan Place and Mistletoe Heights (and into poorer areas), Janovsky remains incensed at the drillers’ arrogance.

“I don’t think the average citizen knew that this was in the pipeline when Ken Barr was mayor, as far back as maybe 2001 or 2002. I asked Frank Moss, the city councilman from District 5 [1998-2004 and 2007-present], why we didn’t do more to prepare the urban core for this sort of intense drilling. And he says that when the gas companies were discussing city drilling they only discussed rural city areas and he didn’t know they were interested in inner city drilling. So nobody planned anything.”

Janovsky says she is frustrated about a lot to do with the Barnett Shale exploitation, from the leasing of mineral rights right to delivering the gas. “The average person knows nothing about mineral rights laws. So when those landmen came into neighborhoods where people had no experience, those people didn’t know the gas companies couldn’t take their minerals by eminent domain. Yet many landmen told people they could, just to bully them into signing. People were taken advantage of; they didn’t know how to negotiate with these companies and landmen. They didn’t even know they could negotiate.”

For the novice who’s never been around drilling, mineral rights are often not even a consideration when purchasing a house or land. But in Texas, subsurface mineral rights trump surface rights every time, and if you’ve bought a dream house without knowing that the previous owner kept the mineral rights, you might wake up to discover that a gas company has moved onto your property and is setting up a rig there. Or putting an access road to a rig on your property.

Robert West of the Hills of Gilmore Creek subdivision discovered just how that worked when he returned from an out-of-town trip in 2005 to discover that gas drillers had put a 300-by-400-foot drill pad (cleared area for a well, including waste pond and trailers for workers) on his six acres, taking about half of it to drill two wells, and not offering anything in return. Adding insult to injury, he’s still stuck paying the taxes on that land. In West’s case, he convinced the appraisal district that his property value has gone done, and they reduced his taxes. For one year. The next year he had to go back and get the reduction again. And he’ll probably have to do that every year for the next 50 years.

The next set of issues deals with the leases. Gas leases are trickier than they look. On the face of it, you sign a paper that gives gas companies three-to-five years to begin exploration and drilling in your area, called a pool. In return you get a signing “bonus”—which has skyrocketed from $200 per acre in rural areas just four years ago to over $25,000 per acre in urban areas—and then receive monthly royalty checks if the well or wells produce. “Mailbox money” is how the landmen put it. Pool size can vary from a minimum of 20 acres to hundreds of acres, and your royalty share will be determined by how many square feet of the pool area you own. In urban areas that will probably come to $20-$50 per well per month. Before taxes and before any gas company fees the fine print in your lease makes you responsible for.

But it’s not as simple as that always. Some landmen (the brokers who get residents to sign the leases and then sell them to the gas companies for a profit) don’t pay the royalties they’ve promised—as discovered by dozens and perhaps hundreds of people who signed with a company called TriStar Gas Partners, LLD. And though that frees the landowner to sign with someone else, it generally takes hiring a lawyer and months of work to actually get the original lease back.

Even when everything is fine, collecting royalties is sometimes difficult. Mortgage companies, who own the deed to your house, have the right of first refusal on any and all monies made from your property. As a rule, if a person is paying their mortgage on time, the banks and mortgage companies let the monies generated from things like gas wells go to the homeowner. But some companies charge a fee to the homeowner for filing what’s called a Subordination of Deed of Trust allowing the homeowner to collect. This can run into several hundred dollars—often more than the homeowner stands to make from the royalties. And some banks prevent a homeowner from collecting royalties at all.

“The issue,” says Tom Fleischer, a Ft. Worth attorney who works with business and real estate litigation, “is that there’s no incentive for mortgage companies to sign the subordination. They don’t have to by law, and from their point of view you’re selling off some of the value of the surety they have, which include your home and mineral rights.”

“That’s one that’s starting to come up more and more,” says Hogan. “Anything you do to your property that may effect the value, you’re supposed to notify the lender of your actions, and they say yea or nay. Let’s say you wanted to turn your house into a lease property, they would want to know. And with gas wells, it’s a mess. Some mortgage companies want the royalty money paid to them; some companies are keeping the royalty money in an escrow account for clients who have a history of paying late. Some companies won’t sign off on a subordination at all, leaving the money in limbo. I always tell people—and I’m not a lawyer by any means—that they should check with their mortgage company to find out what their policy is before they ever sign a lease. Cause people are going to find out just how hard it is to actually get their hands on their royalty money as more of these wells go online.”

Threatened Water Resources
Once the leases are signed and the acreage pooled, drilling begins. With that comes its own set of issues that few in the Fort were aware of. Millions of gallons of water are needed to help drill and then frac the well to release the gas trapped in the shale. The water is hauled in by trucks weighing 80,000 pounds that have destroyed city streets and state highways, and as yet Fort Worth doesn’t even have a plan in place for getting monies from the companies to repair them. Susan Alanis, director of planning and development for the city, told the Weekly that “operators are required to post a bond that the city can call on if there is truck damage.” She adds that the process was “very complicated.”

Michael Peters, the TxDot spokesman for the Fort Worth area says the state has no regulations concerning road damage fees either. “I will say that the Barnett Shale has severely stressed our roadways statewide, but any sort of fee would have to be set by the state legislature.”

State Representative Lon Burnam (D-Fort Worth) says that behind-the-scenes work to begin to address the impact the Barnett Shale has had on TxDot roadways has begun in preparation for the upcoming legislative session. “Without naming names, I’ve begun talking to Republicans and Democrats alike about a package of legislation to address legitimate public interests and concerns on a number of issues that have come up because of the Barnett Shale, but which legislation has thus far not addressed.” Those issues, he says, relate not only to TxDot, but to the state Railroad Commission—which overseas gas and oil drilling and production in the state—and to water pollution as well.

Another issue concerning roads is the number of over-sized loads on small roads and the number of rigs utilizing relatively raw drivers because of the demand. Unfortunately, finding out how many accidents have involved gas company drivers is not possible, as neither the Fort Worth police, the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department or the Texas Department of Transportation keep such records. Anecdotal evidence suggests it’s not an insignificant number, however.

Several insurance companies contacted for this story says that information was proprietary and wouldn’t respond further.

Other issues, like noise and sound and dust pollution caused by well drilling, are often temporary—lasting the month or so it takes to drill a well. But what people weren’t told and didn’t know was that gas companies will often return to the same pad site repeatedly to drill new wells—so that month of hell might be repeated several times over the course of a year as rigs become available.

The real issues involving the drilling process include water, waste and danger. Water issues range from acquiring the 3-5 million gallons needed per well—it’s taken from a range of sources, including the city of Fort Worth, Tarrant County and private wells—to disposing of the waste water.

The majority of Fort Worth shale water probably comes from private wells, either drilled on site or purchased from private homeowners. The Texas “capture” rule allows anyone to capture as much water as they can, whether from streams crossing their land or wells they’ve dug. In many areas of the state, Groundwater Protection Districts have been set up to monitor and regulate the water supply, but the Texas Water Code exempts wells used exclusively for oil and gas purposes from that regulation.

“Water is always a concern,” says Dr. Billy Caldwell, a geologist and consultant to oil and gas companies, “because without it you have nothing. So you don’t want to keep punching holes in the ground and taking it from there. To that end, I think Fort Worth is going to have some success with using sewage water for fraccing wells. But there is nothing better than simply reusing water rather than capturing ground water or water from an aquifer.” Some companies have been moving in this direction, he says. “Devon’s been working on recycling well water and I hope they can get it working completely.”

Still, Caldwell admits that until those strategies become large-scale realities, water use by shale drillers will remain an issue. But while depleting the water tables in the region is a concern, the bigger problem is the disposal of it once it’s been used. Freshwater that’s used both in the drilling and later fraccing processes—short for fracturing, or forcing water and sand and chemicals into the shale, which releases the natural gas trapped in it—flows back up the bore full of sand and salt and drilling chemicals. The gas companies routinely refer to this water as salt water, but “it’s really toxic waste,” says Jim Popp, who recently won a case against the permitting of an injection well—the wells where the gas water is dumped—in Wise County. “When it comes to injection wells, we were simply lied to by the gas companies. We were told they were salt water injection wells, but they’re not. There are at least 17 different chemicals in that water, including benzene. They’re toxic waste injection wells. If they were called what they really are, no one would have let them be put in place.”

Water wells in Chico and Panola Counties were contaminated by faulty injection wells, and Popp sees the potential for the same in Fort Worth. “Right now, the companies operating in Fort Worth are bringing their waste out here to the injection wells in Wise and elsewhere, but nobody here wants that toxic waste except the owners of those injection wells. If Fort Worth wants the gas money so badly, they should be able to live with the waste it produces.”

At the moment, only one injection well has been permitted in Fort Worth, and a moratorium is in place on others. And while that well, owned by Chesapeake, is not supposed to be utilized at the moment, residents of the east Fort Worth area where it’s located claim that water trucks continually enter the property weighted down and leave looking as though they’ve been emptied.

“People don’t understand is how dangerous this stuff is,” says Popp. “Several water separators have blown up in the area when lightning struck them. In another case a water tanker blew up when a driver waiting his turn to empty his truck lit a cigarette and blew up three trucks. When was the last time you saw salt water blow up?”

Popp isn’t exaggerating. After a number of explosions involving well waste water—at least a few of which caused deaths—the Federal Chemical Safety Board classified it as a flammable material.

That same toxic water, generally held in pits at the well site until it can be trucked away, has been found in unlined pits or pits in which the lining was torn on dozens of sites throughout Tarrant and nearby counties—which means a lot of it is seeping into the groundwater.

The only monitoring of well waste water is done by the Railroad Commission—as gas and oil companies are exempt from both the federal Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act under new regulations promulgated by the Bush administration. Worse, the Texas Auditor’s office says that injection well monitoring is done mostly on the honor system.

Another issue concerning water involves the actual fraccing process. In many instances throughout the Barnett Shale region, homeowners dependent on private water wells have seen their water discolored and starting to smell of sulphur after wells have been bored. In a recent case in Hill County, three homeowners suddenly discovered hydrocarbons in their well water, which killed several animals. The water cannot even be used for lawn watering much less for cooking, washing dishes or showering. To date, gas companies almost universally deny that their operations have caused any of these problems. Affected homeowners repeatedly told the Weekly that gas company representatives have told them that the companies are prepared to tie them up in litigation for a good long expensive time if they choose to sue.

“Big gas companies never want to affect ground water,” says Caldwell. “But anytime you’re dealing with drilling wells you’re going to have occasional accidents and water contamination. That’s just a fact of life. What’s important is to discover them and get those waters cleaned up. Of course, even if you do, you’re liable to have that sulfur smell in the water for a good long time.”

Caldwell added that the big Barnett players like XTO, Chesapeake, Devon and Encana work hard to prevent contamination. “But certainly those accidents are going to occur occasionally anyway.”

The drilling of the well itself poses its own problems. When gas wells—which are head over heels more dangerous than oil wells—are drilled out in the countryside, leaks and explosions, even large ones, frequently do little damage other than to the ground surface or the operators equipment. But as drilling is done in urban areas, those risks increase considerably. The 2006 death of Robert Dale Gayan, 49, in a well explosion while working on a rig in nearby Forest Hill brought home the potential danger to Fort Worth, and Mayor Montcreif immediately asked that the distance between well bores and homes in Fort Worth be increased from 300 to 600 feet.

Apart from explosions, gas leaks have forced evacuations in several nearby areas, and even water separator tanks on well sites have exploded when struck by lightning, despite the use of lightning arrestors.

Pipeline Threats
As if all of those elements most residents were not aware of when the landmen dangled mailbox money the way Eve dangled an apple weren’t bad enough, the worst is yet to come. It’s coming in the form of pipelines, particularly the gathering lines that are needed to connect gas at the well head and get it to transmission lines that carry the gas to compressor stations where it’s cleaned and compressed into high pressure dry gas and sent to users.

Jerry Lobdill, a retired physicist and chemical engineer, estimates that there will be at least 175 miles of gathering lines that will have to be put under Fort Worth inside Loop 820, “and the reality is that there will probably be twice that number.”

Those lines will be carrying what is called “wet gas”—gas that’s been through a water separator at the well head but which still contains water and salt and chemicals. “The problem with those lines,” explained Greg Hughes of the Coalition for a Reformed Drilling Ordinance (CREDO), a citizen’s group trying to secure a moratorium on new gas drilling within Fort Worth, “is that they are carbon steel and they corrode from the inside. Those pipelines have corrosion protection on the outside that prevents rust from occurring between the pipe and the earth, but there is nothing to prevent rust from occurring inside the lines. There are mechanical devices that you can run inside your lines called ‘smart pigs’ which can detect corrosion after it occurs, but to stop it you would have to halt gas in the line, dig up the pipe and replace it, a very expensive proposition.”

Based on the major explosions that have occurred in the Barnett Shale zone over the last several years, Lobdill says that the simple mathematics of having that many miles of wet gas lines running under a city with 3,000 wells is that “we can expect a major incident every six months.”

That is a frightening number. Even if he’s wrong by the power of 10, we could still expect a major incident every five years. And if a pipeline in the country goes, it’s often a stand-alone pipe. In Fort Worth, an explosion in one line is more than likely to set off further explosions in the other lines running parallel to it—as well as destroy water, sewage and electrical utility lines running under the same streets.

“And what if it’s not an explosion, but just a leak?” asked Task Force member Gary Hogan. “They’re putting unodorized gas under the city streets in pipelines that are not platted with the city so if anything should go wrong it would be a disaster. Our hazmat people won’t even know which way to evacuate people.”

Susan Alanis, Fort Worth’s director of planning and development, told the Weekly that platting of pipelines is not required to be provided to the city—only the property owner and the Railroad Commission. But she says that “because there is a little lag time in accessing the platting records from the Railroad Commission, we’re looking at the [gas and pipeline] companies having to provide as-built drawings to us as their pipelines are put in place.”

A retired high-profile Houston attorney who worked for more than 20 years in the pipeline industry and asked that his name not be used, says it’s just crazy to put wet gas beneath Ft. Worth, and even crazier to have wet, unodorized gas. He told the story of a Houston man who lived on a line a company he worked with had built and one cold morning “it leaked and a man walked into his house, flipped on his light and his house exploded, killing him. The same thing happened to two little girls I remember.”

He told the story of the New London school gas explosion in which unodorized gas seeped into the school building in 1937. “Children had been nauseated for several days but no one could figure out what was causing it. Well, there was an unodorized gas leak and when a janitor turned on an electric switch the gas ignited, blowing up the school and exploding 300 children.”

Jim Bradbury, an attorney and another member of the Gas Drilling Task Force says that the issue of unodorized gas came up at a task force meeting. “The oil company representatives says it was problematic to odorize the gas at the wellhead because the odorization would foul the compressor station equipment. Someone else from the industry noted that since compressors release some of the gas they’re processing you would have too many ‘false positives’ if people smelled odorized gas. But I ask, what’s the cost of a false negative?”

Mayor Mike Montcrief subsequently took that issue off the task force’s agenda and gave it to the city staff to handle.

Locals Left With the Mess
“One of the pipeline issues that’s been bothering us,” says former city councilman Clyde Picht, a member of the CREDO coalition, “is what’s happens to the wells when the big companies lose interest?”

Picht and many others who want a moratorium in well permitting in Fort Worth until the issue can be properly looked at, is concerned about what happens 10 years down the road. “When those wells stop producing enough, Chesapeake will head back to Oklahoma and sell them to a mid-sized company. They’ll run them for some time but finally they’ll be sold to some cut-rate company that won’t check the pipeline at all.”

Gary Hogan notes that homeowners oughtn’t forget about repercussions from leaks or explosions, either in the wells themselves or the pipelines moving their product. “I predict that if we ever do have blowouts and neighborhoods affected—even if they’re not catastrophic events—that the insurance companies are not going to sit on their thumbs. They’re going to send out notices that if you’re within a certain area of a well or pipeline they’ll either not cover you for your losses or they’ll give you a new premium and maybe even a deductable. And that’s going to come out of the $15,000 or so in royalties an average Ft. Worth homeowner can expect over the next 30 years.”

And if pipeline explosions and leaks weren’t discussed by the landmen and gas company public relations flacks who came calling, you can bet that the gas companies’ ability to secure pipeline routes by eminent domain certainly wasn’t. That issue is new and galvanizing people around the city who see a great deal of difference between putting a gas line through a cow pasture in the country and a front lawn in the inner city. The gas companies and their pipeline subsidiaries, however, have the same right to condemn property as public utilities for the placement of gas lines.

That issue was in the national spotlight for some weeks as Jerry Horton, an elderly Carter Avenue resident, held out against permitting Chesapeake’s pipeline branch, Texas Midstream Gas Services, to put a pipeline under her lawn. When she couldn’t come to an agreement with the company, she was threatened with eminent domain. On Aug. 21, shortly after Horton came to terms with Texas Midstream, the company filed suit to condemn property belonging to five other Carter Ave. homeowners for the same pipeline.

Sometimes the arrogance goes further than that. On June 21, Red Oak Energy Partners filed a suit against the city of Flower Mound in state district court over Flower Mound’s refusal to grant variances to the gas company for a proposed well site. Says one city official, “We knew it was going to happen somewhere. The gas companies simply believe they have absolute rights to these minerals, and things like cities and ordinances and the rights of citizens come second to those. And if it wasn’t Flower Mound, it would have been somewhere else.”

“Everybody is wondering what the next surprise is going to be that they haven’t told us about,” says Susan de los Santos, a member of the Gas Drilling Task Force. “And that distrust has been earned by the gas companies because of their behavior to this point.”

One of those surprises probably won’t come for at least another 10 or 15 years, until the big companies begin selling off their wells. That’s when they’ll begin drilling into a second strata of the shale, one deeper than the current one. It’s not something the gas companies have discussed publicly.

“At one of the gas drilling meetings,” says Hogan, “I overheard the oil reps discussing a second strata and asked what they were talking about. They says we shouldn’t worry, that they weren’t interested in the deeper shale and so forth. Not yet, anyway. But they will be if it’s valuable and then they’ll be back drilling again and the whole cycle will start over again.”

Hogan suggests that if you haven’t signed a lease yet, you’d better make sure it has a clause that says it’s only for one strata—otherwise you’ll be tied into today’s bonus and royalty rates when and if they come back and drill new wells.

And long-term environmental and health issues have hardly been considered at all in the rush for the gas. “What effect will the injection wells have on our water?” Asked Don Young, founder of Fort Worth Citizens Against Neighborhood Drilling Ordinance (CanDo) who has been telling people for years to Just Say No to gas drilling. “What about a major accident? And what about the physical and psychological impacts on people? We have no idea what those will be. What will the impact be on your health by having to put up with more noise, more pollution, more trucks on the road? The only escape will be the cultural center of the city. Around it will be an industrial nightmare.”

Young’s complaints and protests have mostly fallen on deaf ears. Gary Hogan says gas company representatives have tried to marginalize Young, treating them like kooks for sounding the alarm while people were still dreaming of royalty riches and before the reality of gas drilling began to sink in. For Fort Worth, that didn’t happen until established historic district communities—Berkeley, Mistletoe Heights and Ryan Place—realized the drillers were taking aim at their homes and planning on putting rigs in their back yards.

“I think people all over the city began to wake up when those neighborhoods got together and says no,” says De Los Santos. “I think that turned the tide on understanding that mineral rights’ owners have some power.”

Eventually, there was enough noise from the public that Mayor Mike Moncrief formed the Gas Drilling Task Force to make recommendations to the city council to revise Ft. Worth’s gas well ordinance. However, that experience is proving frustrating for several of the non-gas-industry people who represent the Fort’s citizenry on the Task Force.

“Soon as we started talking about the problems and hazards of pipelines, the mayor took it out of the task force’s hands and says the pipeline recommendations would be made by city staff instead,” says Bradbury.

Moncrief did the same with the gas companies’ public-notice policy and road impact. And even with the issues left in the hand of the task force, its make-up is so lopsided in favor of gas company representatives and those who want urban drilling that the companies generally get their way on what recommendations will be made to the city council.

“I thought I could make a difference on this task force,” says Hogan, a veteran of the first task force as well. “But it’s hard to make a difference when you”ve got a deck stacked against you.”

During August that frustration reached a point where some citizens suggested to the five members of the task force who are regularly voted down by gas industry reps that they simply walk away. “Some people suggested that we resign in protest, explaining that the gas industry controls the task force. But when we talked it over we thought that Mayor Moncrief might just say we walked from the table and have his staff write up the ordinance. So we decided to stay.”

“The task force should have had voting power resting with the citizens on the panel, with the experts being there to give input regarding the wells,” says De Los Santos. “But that’s hot how it was formed. So I think you can look forward to a minority report from the citizens who represent the people of Fort Worth and in it we will make the recommendations that we feel should go into the gas drilling ordinance.”

She was asked if she thought a minority report would have any impact on the council members’ final decisions.

“I think the council will have to take it into consideration if our voices are echoed by community leaders and the public. The people associated with CREDO are highly visible and influential. Three of them are former city council members. If they and the presidents of neighborhood associations and the League of Women Voters come to council and say they agree with what the minority report recommends, I don’t think the council will have any choice but to take it under advisement.”

But will they be willing to buck the system to make recommendations the gas drilling companies don’t like?

Lon Burnam is skeptical. “The public needs to understand that any time you have a 500-pound gorilla in the room—and that gorilla is the gas companies—you don’t have to spell it out to the city council. There is an implied threat that if you don’t do things the gorilla’s way, you’ll need to hit the highway.”

So does Fort Worth just give up?

“No,” says Burnam. “In Fort Worth the gorilla doesn’t always win. There are moments of democratic impulse here and I think this is one of them. This is non-ideological. It’s brought together the politically right-wing and left-wing because this is about protecting your home.

“This is a runaway train and it is always harder to stop a runaway train than it is to prevent it in the first place. And right now we’ve got a mayor who is totally aligned with the gas industry. But the city has a right to establish a moratorium to see how it’s going to address this gas boom.”

“The more we learn about what’s happening and what’s going to happen,” says Hogan, “the more it looks like Don Young with his ‘Just Say No to Urban Drilling’ was right all along. Unfortunately, it’s too late for that. It’s here now. But let’s do this in the right way. And I don’t think it’s too late for that, to make the companies do their drilling in a way that will minimize impact on health, safety and the environment. If we don’t, who’s going to want to live here? It’ll be a total loss for the average citizen.”


This story first appeared Sept. 10 in the Fort Worth Weekly.


Coalition for a Reformed Drilling Ordinance (CREDO)

Fort Worth Citizens Against Neighborhood Drilling Ordinance (FWCanDo!)

Oil and Gas Industry Exempt From New Clean Water Rules
New York Times, March 8, 2003


Reprinted by World War 4 Report, Dec. 1, 2008
Reprinting permissible with attribution