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Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Parking Ticket

      On January 22, 2013  Lynda Gearheart, Project Manager for Chesapeake, told the Arlington,TX City Council that security cameras are difficult to come by.  Installation of a camera was one stipulation for approval of a gas well permit at the controversial  Rocking Horse Drill Site.  Click Here for that backstory.  

In this video clip from January 22, 2013 City Councilmen Charlie Parker and Robert Rivera question Ms. Gearheart about that security camera:

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Below is a document obtained by a citizen via an open records request through the City of Arlington.  These are gas drilling citations that were issued in the spring of 2014.   Security cameras must be in short supply because more than 18 months have passed and ~ as these citations reveal ~ many of their drill sites still do not have cameras!  When we called the City for a status update, they said that Chesapeake is working on it.  Come on, guys, time's up!

Let's zoom in to examine one ticket:


What would Minnie the Meter Maid say about issuing gas drilling violations on parking tickets?

    Darlene (Sunnie) Minney Hubbard
 Photo Attribution Grand Prairie Historical Organization

Arlington treats gas drilling violations no differently than expired parking meters!  Perhaps they want us to believe that gas drilling in residential neighborhoods is innocuous.  Well, we know better.  These are dangerous industrial mining sites in our neighborhoods ~ not bakeries!  We live near them, experience the impacts, and study the issues.

Notice that the company names are left off every citation.  Is this intentional?  Throwing workers under the bus.  Glenn Stetson's name appears on many of these citations.  He is a Production Superintendent for Chesapeake. This seems unfair because after the third offense, this civil citation turns into a criminal matter.  It just wouldn't be right to press charges against a young newlywed when it is the City's responsibility to enforce the ordinance AND the company's responsibility to comply with it.  

Curiously, the names of the drill sites are not listed on the citations either.  Where's the transparency?  If you wish to obtain records for a particular gas drill site, you must ask specifically by address or else no records will turn up.  The City may charge for the records, but there is no charge for our tip!

We would like to point out that the last ticket in the bundle belongs to Atlas Resource Partners who acquired Titan Operating, LLC.  They have an interest in 12,000 oil and gas wells with assets of $200 million. 

 They paid their fine.   

If an Arlington meter maid ever issues you a parking ticket, here's how you can look up the amount of your fine.  (A city employee taught us how to do this.)  Let's practice by looking up the aforementioned code for the gas drilling violation since both are handled exactly the same way:
1)  Go to the City of Arlington's new website:  We've provided the link.  
Click Here.

2)  At the top right-hand side of the page click on the green tab that says 
Pay Online

3)  Now scroll down the page until you see a grouping of 8 large boxes.  Click on the blue box with a picture of a police officer that says
 "PAY Traffic Ticket."

4)  On the left hand side of the page is a heading that says, "Fine Amounts."  
    Select "Civil Fines."

5)  You will now see a 13-page listing of Civil Offenses.  Code 5655 is on page 10.  The  offense for this code is "Misc. Violation Flammable or Combustible Liquids - IFC Chapter 34."

The Penalty for each offense is $130.

As of Friday, July 25, 2014 Chesapeake has NOT PAID any of these tickets.  
A civil hearing is scheduled for September 24th at 2:00 p.m at the Arlington Municipal Courthouse.  Anyone who wishes to attend this hearing must check in by 8:00 a.m. 

If you are seeking an exciting new career as a meter maid,  here is salary information:

Thanks for visiting our community blog!  
Y'all come back soon for more updates and be sure to follow us on Twitter @Fishcreek1269.  

Monday, July 14, 2014

When Lightning Strikes

Having spent many summer days down at the Jersey Shore, the word saltwater conjures up images of the beach and the way an accidental gulp of ocean water tastes.  So, naturally, when the oil and gas landmen came into our communities talking about the saltwater, it sounded as benign as a day at the beach.  

What we learned later was horrifying.  This "produced water/saltwater/brine" as the industry calls it, is far from benign.  It is up to 30 times saltier than ocean water and contains toxic metals, chemicals, and radioactivity.  This by-product of oil and gas is stored in tanks next to our homes, schools, and businesses throughout North Texas.  

On July 7th lightning struck a North Dakota saltwater facility sending hot flames and thick, black plumes in the air.  According to an article in Fuel Fix dated July 8, 2014,  

"North Dakota and other oil producing states do not require companies to install lightning protection systems on their oil field facilities."   

Arlington, Texas does.  

In fact, as stated in the Fire Prevention Code, gas well operators are required to install lightning arrestor systems at their facilities on all gas well tanks and equipment:

We scrolled through inspection reports and found that Chesapeake FAILED ~ not only at the Fulson Site located in the Fish Creek Neighborhood ~ but at many gas drill sites throughout the City.

Since it's VERY tricky to find gas drilling information on the City's newly designed website, we've linked to Chesapeake's quarterly inspection reports for you.  Click here to see if your gas well site is in violation. 

Let's hope and pray they comply with the ordinance before the next storm.  I hear thunder as I write this post.

Click on Link Below to View Video: