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Thursday, April 23, 2015

If You Love Fracking, Vote for Robert Rivera

On April 11th when dozens of families in West Arlington were evacuating their homes due to a gas well emergency, District 3 City Councilman, Robert Rivera was enjoying a fun-fest raising money for his re-election campaign.  So, if you love fracking, vote for Robert Rivera because fracking seems to be his issue.  His robo calls even said so.

Texas State Senator Konni Burton came to the party.   According to a report by Lobby Watch, Konni Burton received a ton of money from Oil & Gas ~ a whopping $261,667!  In fact, she received more oil and gas money than any senator in our State, and it looks like Mr. Rivera has aligned himself with her.  The average contribution for Texas Senators was $56,207.

See how much oil and gas money your representative received by scrolling through this Lobby Watch document:

Tony Tinderholt, (R) HD94 and Bill Zedler (R) HD96 also came to the party.  Both voted in FAVOR of HB40.  It is disappointing, to say the least.  These men are from Arlington and ought to know better.  They sold us out.

The Texas House of Representatives voted on  HB40 last Friday, April 17th:

"Relating to the exclusive jurisdiction of this state to regulate oil and gas operations in this state and the express preemption of local regulation of those operations."   

This bill essentially strips local control of oil and gas activities from municipalities, violates property rights, and puts the health and safety of millions of residents at risk.  It is  carte blanche for oil and gas.  The bill passed with an overwhelming majority vote of 122-18, with a price tag of approximately $5.5 million.  

Next, it goes to the Senate Floor, so call and write your Senator now and urge them to vote "NO" on SB1165 or you may get a drill site ~ or even worse ~ an injection well  near your property line.  The oil and gas industry is ruthless.  They don't care who or what they frack.  If we lose local control, run for the hills!

It is puzzling why Rafael Anchia and Justin Rodriquez ~ two representatives who voted to preserve local control ~  are not included on this fundraising announcement.  During our town hall the other night Mr. Rivera gave our community the impression that he is aligned with both of these men. 

During the candidate forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters earlier this week, Robert Rivera made a statement which seems to present an ethical dilemma.  He stated that a child doesn't care who paid for the equipment on a playground.  So if we are interpreting this correctly, it is acceptable to poison our communities with fracking pollution in order to purchase cool things for kids with royalties.  Is this the message to teach our children ~ that the end justifies the means? 

Earthworks dropped by the Fish Creek Neighborhood last weekend, and this is what the FLIR camera captured this time: 

Fulson Drill Site, Arlington, TX, Operated by Chesapeake Energy 
Video by Earthworks 

It takes its toll.  It ages people.  When you've lived here as long as some of us have, it might just take a little more than a dab to do ya. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Did Arlington Neighbors Know?

Lake Arlington Gas Drill Site, 3016 Little Road, Arlington, TX

Yesterday over a dozen families were forced to evacuate their homes when workers lost control of a gas well during hydraulic fracturing operations at the Lake Arlington Baptist Church drill site.   Vantage Energy operates this problematic site.  

Residents previously filed numerous complaints with the City of Arlington, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and the Railroad Commission of Texas.  They smelled chemical odors and heard explosions.  We listened to many stories from frustrated neighbors who, at the time, felt the authorities and the industry were not taking their concerns seriously.  First they were told there was a gas leak.  Then they were told there was no leak.  Then they were told there was a cracked casing.  Then they were told there was no cracked casing.  

It was a fracking run-a-round. 

So much for transparency.  
We wanted to find out what was going on, so we filed an open records request with the City.  Since our first attempt at obtaining information was rather broad in scope and was going to cost $272.50, we narrowed our search.   On March 11, 2015 we obtained a half dozen documents.  Here is a screen shot of one e-mail where Jason Eberle of Vantage Energy informs Collin Gregory, the City's Gas Well Coordinator, about a well control issue.

This begs the question ~ was this problematic well in January the same well that caused mandatory evacuations yesterday?   

When we visited the site and spoke with the Vantage Energy guard in November, she assured us that drilling is safe.

So far the Fire Department, Vantage Energy and Boots and Coots, a well control company have been unsuccessful at attempts to kill the well and fix the problem.  Toxic fracking fluid continues to bubble and spew out of the well, and nearby residents are still displaced from their homes.