The hot topic of discussion at this meeting was an item from Executive Session ~ an oil and gas lease with Vantage Energy. A Chesapeake oil and gas lease was also on the agenda under Executive Session, but the focus for this story is the Vantage lease.
Vantage is the operator that experienced a well blowout in April causing mandatory evacuations of many nearby residents. This mishap spilled 42,000 gallons of produced water down residential streets and into our city storm drains. This is also the same operator that delayed reporting this accident to our Fire Department for approximately two hours. They don't sound like a very prudent operator. Following an investigation, the City made a determination to allow them to Frack On on that LABC drill site. It was a disappointment that they did not order Vantage to lock the gates and plug the wells after that fiasco. Now they are building out that site, but that is a story for another day. One of those West Arlington neighbors should start a blog.
Although the surface location for this Vantage Energy lease is in Fort Worth, well bores would be directionally drilled and fractured under a portion of Lake Arlington, the City's drinking water source for hundreds of thousands of people.
The speeches by Arlington and Dallas residents addressed a myriad of concerns ranging from the risk of contamination to our drinking water supply to the potential for an earthen dam failure which could be catastrophic. Earthquakes, air pollution and climate change were also mentioned as serious issues associated with this type of heavy industrial activity.
Fracking. What's not to love?
Robert Shepard (At-Large) was absent, and Jimmy Bennett (At-Large) made the motion to approve these oil and gas leases. Shame on you, Mr. Bennett! Since there was no second, Robert Rivera then made a motion to deny, seconded by Sheri Capehart. The outcome of the vote was 7-1.
We received new information from the City Secretary's office today that there was dialogue immediately following this vote which was not clearly audible to online viewers. While both items 1 and 2 were denied, Charlie Parker, District 1 Councilman, wanted to make sure that it goes on public record that he voted "No" on item 2 (ie, saying yes to a Chesapeake oil and gas lease on City property by Little Road and Little School Road) making the vote on item two 6-2. So, there you have it ~ two Arlington Councilmen whose names deserve recognition in the City Hall of Shame.
It was curious to witness what appeared to be a pivot ~ or maybe it was an eddy turn by seven out of eight council members present at the meeting. Is there a skilled canoe man out there who can confirm this move? We suspect it might have been a strategical maneuver to turn the negative PR around. But most definitely, it was a "Woo-Hoo Moment" for mostly everyone in the chamber that night.