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Friday, March 30, 2012

Overcoming Faith and the Little Children

Mansfield gas release March 23, 2012 Fort Worth Star Telegram photograph Arlington Fire Department
Two mansfield schools go into lockdown mode as incident occurs at 7:44 a.m. 

On Tuesday, April 3rd Arlington, TX City Council will take a final crucial vote on a controversial ordinance change which will allow Overcoming Faith Drill Site to be permitted at Village on the Green at Tierra Verde.  The vision for this overlay is to maintain a village-like atmosphere and rural character.  Commitment to that vision is being jeopardized, and children may be placed in harm's way if this ordinance change is approved.  Click HERE to view agenda details. 

The proposed Overcoming Faith Drill Site brings to the table many complex issues.   A big problem exists as its close proximity to RF Patterson Elementary School in Kennedale lies a mere 1,875 feet to the northeast (less than 1/2 mile).  This public school educates young children in grades K-4.  Imagine dropping off your son or daughter to school unaware of the dangerous chemicals they may get exposed to on the playground during recess because of a nearby drill site.  Since Arlington still does not make available to its citizens a gas drilling status report, it would be difficult to obtain specific activity information for any given location. 

A Kennedale school official indicated that he did not receive notification about this ordinance change and added that he would not be in favor of this drill site if it will be a detriment to the kids. 

We believe it will be a detriment to the children, and here are just a few of the reasons why: (click on the links below.)
"Middle class schools in Denton and Tarrant get drilled and fracked more"
"New research on the air quality around natural gas wells provides additional evidence and controversy about the possible health effects from hydraulic fracturing or "fracking." In Colorado, scientists found that fracking wells emit potentially toxic hydrocarbons into the air."
"Cancer rates in Barnett Shale climb, residents want answers why"

 "We know that the toxic compounds travel farther than 1/2 mile. In Argyle – Bartonville, the community did baseline testing when drilling was just starting. The results showed 7 detects of the 84 chemicals TCEQ routinely tests for. Follow up testing, on the lot where the high school band practices–1/2 mile from the offending facility–showed 65 detects. We have asked many scientists to explain the increased risks when our children go from breathing 7 chemicals to breathing a cocktail of 65 different chemicals. None can explain that risk because that science has not happened yet."
How could we as a society allow the greed of mankind to transform our once beautiful communities into industrial zones?   Very few people would choose to live next door to industry or deliberately place our children in harm's way.  It is with heavy hearts that parents across North Texas plead with lawmakers to stop this dangerous activity in our backyards before it's too late.   Amen.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Arlington Citizen-Journal "News Flash"

The Arlington Citizen-Journal has been covering the status of the Overcoming Faith Drill Site, which is proposed to be located in the Tierra Verde Master Plan.  The March 21st "News Flash" (paper edition) reads, "Last month the council gave initial approval for the permit, then tabled it for additional research." 

Clarification:  This first stage is not approval of a gas drilling permit ~ it is approval of an ordinance/zoning request for a specific use which will allow heavy industrial mining operations.  Edge does not have approval for a drilling permit ~  not yet anyway.   See the gas well permitting process:
The news flash also reads, "The council has never approved a drilling request for that section of southwest Arlington." Is that a typo? Look at this Arlington gas drilling map and count the drill sites in that vicinity.

Do we really need one more? 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Overcoming Faith Tabled - Stay Tuned

Yesterday Arlington, TX City Council decided to keep Specific Use Permit SUP 11-13 (Overcoming Faith Drill Site - 4700 Eden Road) tabled.

Perhaps Edge Resources is not finished tagging the wildlife and completing the inventory of trees and vegetation that will be lost if that drill site is permitted.  As you may recall, Aubudon International accepted Edge into their Signature Program which is quite confusing.  Make no mistake ~ wildlife, vegetation, and human life cannot co-exist alongside horizontal, slickwater hydrofracking. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Crucial Arlington City Council Vote March 20, 2012

The final vote for a critical zoning request will be taken this Tuesday night March 20, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. at Arlington, TX City Hall. 

As you may recall, that zoning request change for Overcoming Faith Drill Site had been removed from the consent agenda on March 6th.  That was a wise move, motioned by Councilman Robert Shepard, and seconded by another male council member.  We were very pleased because that was, in fact, a controversial item.  

We pray that this zoning request gets voted down on March 20th because:
  • A drill site does not fit into the original vision for the Tierra Verde overlay, which was intended to be environmentally sustainable, memorable for its village-like atmosphere and rural character.  Even Jim Parajon, Planning and Development Director, stated this fact during the February 21st public hearing.
  • Two strong opposers:  Our champion, Councilwoman Sheri Capehart; and the Children's Psychiatrist of Sundance Hospital who represents doctors and many patients.  [The City Secretary told us that - according to Planning & Development - the doctors' opposition letter does not meet the criteria for a petition.  We believe, however, in the spirit of fairness, that the letter be considered acceptable - especially since they were kept out of the loop during the entire planning process and only found out days before the hearing.]  Was this intentional?
  • The two main entities in favor of the drill site are: 1) The operator, Edge Resources; and 2) The Pastor of Overcoming Faith Christian Center.  And did we mention that one petition in favor was signed by the COO of Sundance who is supposedly not authorized to make such decisions?
  • And finally, agenda details indicate that Edge sent out notice about this zoning change to neighborhood groups throughout Arlington.  To date, we cannot find evidence that one of these groups ever received this notice.  Hmmm.
One thing is certain, this crucial vote could be precedent-setting for the rest of the City and all of North Texas.  Think about this ~ if a city can change zoning in a beautiful, high-end community, then what hope is there for the rest of us?  We pray we can save one corner of this wonderful City before it undergoes destruction.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Arlington Residents Challenge Chesapeake Energy

EcoWatch is a news service website that promotes the work of the grassroots environmental movement. 

Following is an EcoWatch link from an Earthworks media release - "Arlington residents challenge Chesapeake Energy to prove they are releasing nothing but hot water"

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Commentary on Frac Fluids

Poolish - n. a mixture of flour and water with a little yeast; used to make some forms of dough

Hydraulic Fracturing - v. a process where a mixture of water, sand, and proprietary chemicals are injected into rock formations causing them to fracture to allow gas to flow out.

Fracking Insurgent -  n. For the complete recipe, click HERE.

What do you think - toxic or not?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

We Overcame

Overcoming Faith Drill Site

If you will recall from the February 21 Arlington, TX Council Meeting, three councilwomen voted in unison against the ordinance change for the Overcoming Faith Drill Site.  The vote was 4-3.  Despite the fact that they did not have a 3/4 super majority vote, that item appeared on the March 6 consent agenda.  Here is the city's web page defining the meeting process:

During the March 6 council meeting Councilman Robert Shepard motioned to remove and table SUP 11-13 Overcoming Faith Drill Site from the consent agenda.  That was a wise thing to do since this remains a controversial issue.

Fire Department's Operational Permit Fee

Mayor Cluck reported that last Friday's meeting with the drillers was unpleasant.  There was tension in the room, a feeling of distrust, and some were bordering on disrespect towards the Fire Chief.  He stated that the drillers would be happy with it off the consent agenda and into the trash.  The City also received a letter from the Chamber of Commerce stating that they were not in favor of these fees. The Mayor said he was willing to have another meeting with the same people in two weeks.

Something changed his mind, however, between the afternoon and evening meeting, because this consent agenda item was unanimously approved.  We appreciate his stand of courage to do what is in the best interest of public safety despite industry pressure and opposition.

Several speakers were in favor of putting this plan into motion without delay due to the catastrophic nature of heavy industrial mining in densely populated areas.

Jim Tidwell, a retired firefighter, and currently a consultant representing Chesapeake, blew it when he went to the mic.  He stated to the council that, "this could become more adversarial than is necessary."  The Mayor seemed to have perceived his statement as a threat.  Bad move.  Where was Laura Patton?

For those who missed the meetings, the evening session may be viewed by clicking HERE, and the afternoon session may be viewed HERE.

Thank you Arlington City Council.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Overcoming the Consent Agenda

This is curious.  Why is the Arlington, TX City Council Meeting Agenda for this week (March 6, 2012) showing a controversial item on its Consent Agenda?

"Maybe the lights are on but nobody's home."

Definition of Consent Agenda

The Consent Agenda is a tool used to streamline meeting procedures by collecting routine, non-controversial items into a group whereby all are passed with a single motion and vote.

The February 21, 2012 Public Hearing

As we know from observations at the February 21 public hearing regarding SUP 11-13 Overcoming Faith Drill Site, this topic was far from being non-controversial.  Following are reasons why this ordinance change for a drill site is objectionable:
  • Public parks are a protected use requiring a 600' setback.  The proposed drill zone is 301'.
  • Nine other drill sites are located within two miles.
  • In 2006 it was determined that the purpose of the Village on the Green at Tierra Verde overlay would be to provide an area that would be environmentally sustainable, memorable for its rural character and village-like atmosphere, with a mix of high-quality housing options.
  • During the February 21 hearing Councilwoman Sheri Capehart expressed her concerns. Her comments can be heard by clicking HERE.
  • A children's psychiatrist from Sundance Hospital spoke about his concerns, and his speech may be heard HERE.    
  • And finally, Edge Resources announced that they have been accepted into the Audubon International Signature Program - not to be confused with the Audubon Society which in no way is affiliated with the former. However, to our knowledge they have not been certified yet. This process can take a year or more. Wouldn't it be prudent to wait until they actually get certified? 

How does heavy industrial mining  fit into that overlay???

The City received only five petitions of support. Two were from the same individual and one appears to be invalid.  In support are:  (1) Edge Resources  (2) Overcoming Faith Church (two letters by same person); (3) a local business C-CAT; and (4) the COO of Sundance Hospital, whose approval might be invalid.

Did we mention that - according to the letter of objection written by the doctors of Sundance - that  their COO is not authorized to sign legal documents pertaining to the property at 7000 U.S. Hwy. 287, Arlington, TX?  He is only authorized to make decisions regarding operations of the hospital.  Wouldn't that mean that his signature doesn't count?  In addition, aren't the doctors the ones who own the hospital?  These documents can be viewed HERE.

Here is a Channel 33 report about this site:

This issue looks complicated, so it is confusing to see it listed on the consent agenda where it can be swiftly approved during the next council session.  Consent agendas are not to be used to hide actions that will be controversial -- to do so breaches trust and undermines the value of this practice.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

"Meet the Frackers"

Just released this week!   Fine Australian documentary film depicting  shale gas drilling in Texas and  North Dakota.  See up-close footage of drilling activity and hear personal testimony from Arlington and Southlake, Texas  residents.  Then travel all the way up to snowy North Dakota and hear how the gas boom is affecting a once small, sleepy town.  This is a must see and can be viewed by clicking on this link:

Here is a sneak peak: