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Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Amendment: Thou Shalt Not Drill Here

Our last blog post mentioned a sleight of hand regarding an amendment to the Gas Well Ordinance Fire Prevention Ordinance.  We learned that an important section from the International Fire Code was removed when the gas drilling ordinance was revised in 2011 
Now the City put it back in.  Here is that staff report, and here is the ordinance amendment.

Councilman, Robert Shepard, wanted  to take this item (VIII B 2) off the consent agenda to be considered separately with the following language:

To subsection 3406. the language would read as follows:

"Where wells exist on a drill site additional wells may [sic] be drilled and drill zones may be established within 300 feet (91440 mm) of buildings with an occupancy in group A, E, or I.  If feasible, additional wells shall not be located closer to the buildings than existing wells."

Here is that video clip:

Apparently, gas wells have already been drilled closer than 300 feet from buildings where people assemble.  So now ~ in essence ~ we clean things up up and make it legal.  It sure is handy having a lawyer on the city council!

(We wonder if Mr. Shepherd intended to use the words "may not" instead of "may" when changing the language in the amendment.  Arlington grants too many loopholes to undesirable neighbors ~ this time with the clause, "if feasible.")  
This is how the subsection 3406. of the International Fire Code reads:

In case the print is too small to see, this is what it says,

"Wells shall not be drilled within 300 feet (91440 mm) of buildings with an occupancy in Group *A, *E or *I.

Click here for the International Fire Code.  It is curious that the City of Arlington is adopting an amendment from the 2009 code when the 2012 has been out for some time.  In fact, the 2015 code is now available for viewing.  When we asked about this, the City said that they only adopt every other Code that is published. 

That's all for now on how to write a city ordinance.  Don't know whether to tackle the next story or go for a beer, but you won't find me hanging out in any bars closer than 300 feet from any shale gas wells. 

*A - Assembly
*E - Educational
*I - Institutional


  1. Disgraceful performance by the council. "The best government money can buy."

  2. Disgraceful Council performance. "The best government money can buy."

  3. loophole language = a fracked public that council was supposed to protect