Our neighbors once had a small above ground swimming pool. One day its walls gave way and the pool burst. In a matter of seconds, the force of the water pushed our six foot tall fence panels halfway into our yard. The water reached our foundation. That little round pool contained roughly 10,000 gallons of water, yet its weakened structure caused a mini tsunami.
Now imagine this ~ your industrial neighbor, XTO Energy, erects an olympic-sized above ground frac pool with a diameter of 160' and walls 12' tall. These pools hold two million gallons of water! What if those walls were to suddenly collapse due to a situation of improper installation, defects, age, seismicity, a tornado, or even gunshots, which are becoming commonplace in our city? The consequences would be catastrophic ~ perhaps deadly for nearby residents and anyone who happens to be walking or driving by in a car.
A zoning amendment to add six additional acres to hold one of of these giant frac pools on XTO's existing Eden Southwest Drill Site located at 150 Eden Road, Arlington, Texas was up for discussion at Wednesday's September 18th Planning & Zoning hearing at City Hall. Here is that video: (Note: This video may not play on mobile devices. Please view on your PC or Mac.)
"This is not a destructive type of activity at all," states Walter Dueease, Regulatory Affairs Manager, XTO Energy.
The six speakers in opposition made excellent points. We've summarized and highlighted a few of these:
Kim Feil: XTO said in the afternoon session that the water would not hurt ducks. Clarification is needed as to whether this water will be treated or reclaimed. Reminds the commissioners that their is no language in the City's gas drilling ordinance for frac pools. Until the ordinance is updated where residents are protected, the applicant should be denied.
Jane Lynn: "Pennsylvania's Attorney General has charged XTO with environmental crimes for spilling over 50,000 gallons of toxic wastewater. Do we trust them to operate in the middle of our residential neighborhoods?" In addition, XTO has recently violated the designated truck route in the Fish Creek Neighborhood. She also wanted to know why we are talking about frac pools when we are in a drought.
Sinikka Dickerson: Provides testimony about the time when both she and a Veteran Arlington police officer got sickened in a residential neighborhod that is surrounded by gas drill sites. She said, "I can't wrap my mind around it why smart, educated people who by now ought to know better continue approving these activities in residential neighborhoods."
J.R. Nicholson: Speaks about the gas clouds that came over his house and how his (now deceased) mother couldn't breathe. A cluster of his neighbors have passed away in a short span of time. He talked about his burning lungs, unexplained weight loss, breathing problems, and headaches. Regarding our regulatory agencies he comments, "This whole thing is a bought and paid for farce." His plead to P&Z is to take a serious look at this issue with their heart and soul because as he states, "Money isn't everything."
Paul Ulrich: Discusses the dismal state of the neighborhood ~ evidence of deterioration of infrastructure of roads, sidewalks, and houses. "We have proof of drill mud contamination from horizontal drilling." He goes on to say that while it may seem innocuous to add a frac pool, it is not. "This is about allowing a known bad operator to extend the range of influence in our community. There will be more opportunities...to damage, spill, pollute." Each time they put up the pool and take it down, it impacts the community. He says, "We want you to stop drilling and move back out of our community and leave us alone to pick up the pieces so we can start healing and stop the death. If you don't, then ten years from now Arlington will be a polluted, destroyed industrial waste ghetto." Finally, he recommends that XTO purchase flood insurance for everyone in that vicinity.
Lola Gulley: "We need to take our neighborhood back before we're all destroyed. If the water breaks, all our homes and the neighborhood would be gone. Too many people are dying. Our property is being damaged from the fracking and the drilling. I think we should stop thinking about the money and think about the residents."
It is Powerful when community comes together.
Stay tuned to hear how that vote went down...