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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Ordinance

Security Cameras:
"Those cameras are difficult to come by...I always hesitate to make a commitment on time when I'm not entirely sure...I'll do our level best to install that camera within the next few weeks...We're going to come back to you on February 5th for the gas I don't know whether I can achieve the installation of that camera...", states Lynda Gearheart, Chesapeake Project Manager - Urban Development.  

Chesapeake seems to be having difficulty getting those backlogged surveillance cameras installed on their gas drill sites.  They were in violation all four quarters of 2012.  The Arlington, Texas gas drilling ordinance 11-068 Section 7.01 states:

25. Security.  At all times, the operation site or compressor station shall have a minimum of one security camera mounted inside the enclosure.  

Signs shall be posted on the fence or wall of the site to indicate that activity on the site may be recorded by video surveillance.  Camera systems shall be maintained in proper operating condition... 

To see the gas drilling ordinance in its entirety, click here.

This clip from the January 22, 2013 Arlington, TX City Council meeting for a Special Use Permit for a zoning change for the Rocking Horse Drill Site shows how much wiggle room our City gives to Chesapeake.  Their zoning request was approved that evening, and they will return on February 5th to request a gas well permit. 

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Chesapeake might want to consider ordering these surveillance cameras in bulk because, according to the latest gas well compliance reports (4th quarter 2012) posted on the City's website, they are in violation at most of their gas drill sites throughout the City - AC/360, Agape, Arkansas, Bright Star, CH Enterprise, Doskocil, Duke....just keep scrolling alphabetically.  Your neighborhood drill site is probably in some sort of violation.  

Why have an ordinance if no one will enforce it?

Next City Council Meeting:
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
6:30 p.m.
Arlington City Hall
101 West Abram Street
Arlington, TX


  1. During the January 22nd public hearing a citizen presented to the Arlington City Council [in good faith] a revoked waiver, bringing the required percentage below 70%, thus requiring a super majority vote. However, the City decided not accept it as it was one business day late. [Both the property owner and speaker that night coincidentally had car issues and were unable to get that waiver delivered by Friday, as Monday was a holiday.]

    City council then procedes to vote 5-3 to approve Chesapeake's request for a drill site zoning change overlooking the fact that Chesapeake has Numerous Outstanding Violations at multiple drill sites throughout our city.

    It is interesting how our City strictly enforces the ordinance with private citizens but that same ordinance is not enforced with the gas industry.

    We inquired about these waivers, and here is the reply we received back from the city:

    "A supermajority vote was not required. Section 7.01(B)(1)(a)(1) of the Gas Drilling and Production ordinance states “. . . [p]petitions in support or opposition to the setback distance reduction must be submitted to the City at least one (1) business day prior to the date of the City Council public hearing. In the event the public hearing is continued, additional petitions may be submitted until one (1) business day prior to the date at which the hearing is continued. . .” A petition was not submitted in accordance with this provision."

    Curiously, the section of the ordinance they tried to apply to the citizens does not even contain specific language dealing with our case ~ specifically with revocations of waivers.

    1. ...the section of the ordinance they tried to apply to the citizens does not even contain specific language dealing with our case ~ specifically with revocations of waivers.

      Good Grief!! There's a BIG problem!! Now, what is the City going to do or say about that?

  2. First of all, GREAT blog post!

    I just watched the streaming vid of the council meeting - a bit surprised by Parker's statement that before one drill bit goes through the gate, Chesapeake will be in compliance - BUT, it was outrageous that Gearhart had the audacity to treat the issue as something negotiable AND said that Chesapeake DENIES they are in violation.

    Parker was ineffective in that he did NOT challenge Gearheart's stance on the issue. And it was outrageous that ANY council member approved that permit, considering Chesapeake is in violation.

    In my opinion, Gearheart's appearance and statements at this hearing took the issue of Chesapeake in the Barnett Shale to another level.

    The rampant non-compliance, dishonesty, and sense of entitlement of this operator is UNCONSCIONABLE.