Dallas about to frack up Houston’s drinking water source?

The Trinity River is the major drinking water source for over 50% of ALL Texas residents

On Mar 19, 2012, at 3:37 PM, Marc McCord wrote:

To Whom It May Concern,
As you are probably aware, the City of Dallas Gas Drilling Task Force has recommended to the City Council that leases be allowed for drilling and hydraulic fracturing to produce natural gas in the floodplains of the Trinity River. I am sure that you are aware of the fact that the Trinity River is the major drinking water source for over 50% of ALL Texas residents, and that many towns and cities, including Houston, derive a large portion, if not all, of their drinking water from the river. Lake Livingston, which is a Houston drinking water reservoir, sits on the Trinity River south of Dallas and north of Houston.
You must also be aware that the Trinity River floodplain contains numerous federally protected wildlife habitat areas that would be threatened with extinction if the river becomes pollutted by frac chemicals, flowback and produced water that is so toxic it can never be cleaned and reused again by humans, animals or plants. And, you must be aware of the damage already done in other areas such as Stevens Creek, a major tributary to the Susquehanna River in Dimock Township, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, Towanda Creek, a major tributary to the Susquehanna River, Sugar Run River, a major tributary to the Susquehanna River in Penn Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania and numerous other locations where accidents or illegal discharges have occurred.
With good reason, Dallas area citizens are very concerned about the possibility of fracture fluid pollution of our waters and floodplains of the Trinity River, especially since the floodplains contain numerous parks and golf courses, nature trails and wildlife habitats that contribute to the quality of life in a major urban area of over 6.5 million people.
As the City Council prepares to take up re-writing our Dallas gas drilling ordinance, and it has been recommended to allow drilling in the Trinity River floodplain, we want to know what authority USACE has to regulate and control such activities that potentially pose great risk to public health and safety, property values and the sensitive environment of the river and its floodplain. We are looking for hard, detailed answers rather than bureaucratic double talk. Does the USACE have the authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing in the floodplain of the river, or does it not have such authority?
If USACE does have the legal authority to regulate mineral exploration and production within the floodplain, then what steps are being taken to make the Dallas City Council aware of USACE concerns and limitations to exploration and production within the floodplain?
Considering the possibility of the Dallas City Council taking up discussions about re-writing the gas drilling ordinance in early April we would appreciate a rapid response to this inquiry providing a detailed answer as to exactly what authority USACE does or does not have in regulating industrial activities within the Trinity River floodplain.
Most respectfully yours,
Marc W. McCord

From: Marc McCord <fracquestions@gmail.com>

Date: March 19, 2012 9:35:14 PM CDT
To: Lois Finkleman <loisgfinkelman@sbcglobal.net>
Cc: Angela Hunt <angela@angelahunt.com>, Ann Margolin <ann.margolin@dallascityhall.com>, Carolyn Davis <carolyn.davis@dallascityhall.com>, Delia Jasso <delia.jasso@dallascityhall.com>, Dwaine Caraway <dwaine.caraway@dallascityhall.com>, Jerry Allen <jerry.allen@dallascityhall.com>, Linda Koop <linda.koop@dallascityhall.com>, Mike Rawlings <mike.rawlings@dallascityhall.com>, Monica Alonzo <monica.alonzo@dallascityhall.com>, Pauline Medrano <pauline.medrano@dallascityhall.com>, Sandy Greyson <sandy@sandygreyson.com>, Scott Griggs <griggslaw@gmail.com>, Sheffield Kadane <sheffield.kadane@dallascityhall.com>, Tennell Atkins <tennell.atkins@dallascityhall.com>, Vonciel Hill <vonciel.hill@dallascityhall.com>
Subject: USACE prohibitions regarding dams, spillways, levees and other flood control devices
Dear Ms. Finkleman,
To say the very least, I am appalled and ashamed of the work done by the Dallas Gas Drilling Task Force with regard to the careless and wholly inadequate way the Task Force did its job of investigating legal prohibitions to oil and gas exploration and production in areas near US Army Corps of Engineers lakes, dams, spillways, floodplains, levees and other flood control devices that are designed to protect citizens and property from catastrophic devastation from flooding.
Specifically, I call your attention to a document that I personally made available to you and every other member of the Task Force, as well as to every City Council member at that time, Mayor Mike Rawlings, Scott Griggs and Sandy Greyson excepted since they were not on the Council then, called the Texas Resource Management Plan and Record of Decision, dated 31 May, 1996, a copy of which is hereto attached.
I refer you to page Document Page 15 (PDF Page 20), left column, US Army, COE, Fort Worth District Projects:
“Generally, Fort Worth District requires NSO/ND (no surface occupancy/no drilling) within 3,000 feet under restricted areas. Restricted areas include the major structures such as dams, spillways, embankments, etc.”
I have attached a second document titled “Southwest District Policy as of March 17, 2011”, which also preceded formation of the Task Force and the commencement of its work. I have just found this document today, but the Task Force could have had a copy by simply contacting the USACE and asking for all relevant documents pertaining to hydraulic fracturing in areas of USACE concern, yet it appears that either no effort was made to obtain these documents, or else they were ignored as the Task Force went about its effort to weaken the current existing gas drilling ordinance to appease the oil and gas industry.
I refer you to Document Page 2 (PDF Page 2) Section 5b and 5c (continued on the following page) in which the 3,000 foot setback exclusion zone is once again reaffirmed referencing the 31 May, 1996 date when the Texas Resource Management Plan / Record of Decision was originally released. These two paragraphs reference BLM/Federal Government owned lands and activities near dams, spillways, embankments, levees and other flood control devices where the US Government does not own land, but  where there is a legal requirement to avoid any activity that interferes with the safe and proper function of those flood control devices. Specifically, it states (in reference to lands not under direct control of the USACE), “However, 33 USC 408 provides that it is unlawful for any person to impair the usefulness of any flood control work built by the United States.”
These admonitions about 33 USC 408 are repeated several additional times throughout the document, and specifically refer to surface lands and mineral rights not under the direct control of USACE or BLM.
It is obvious that USACE has a continuing concern about oil and gas exploration and production near critical flood control infrastructure where a breach of a dam, spillway or levee could result in massive death to humans and property destruction. Apparently, this was not of great concern to our Task Force when it was considering recommendations of re-writing our gas drilling ordinance.
Lastly, a decision by the Texas Supreme Court last fall, which was recently reaffirmed, flatly stated that use of eminent domain to seize private property for building commercial pipelines is illegal, and that private property rights have a Constitutional basis that cannot be undermined for the benefit of a corporation. A second decision about this very matter is about to be reached in another case involving the Keystone XL pipeline near Paris, Texas. And, yet another ruling was already made in the case of DFW Midstream v Grand Prairie. If pipelines cannot be constructed without the use of eminent domain, then they probably cannot be built at all. Without pipelines there is no reason to even drill wells because they would be useless and unable to produce any marketable product. Yet, again, this issue was never even considered by the Task Force even though it is an integral part of the whole issue of gas well drilling in Dallas.
It is shameful when our elected or appointed leaders choose to acquiesce to corporations to the detriment and risk of citizens whom they supposedly represent. Rest assured that these matters WILL continue to be vetted in the public media, and that citizens WILL continue to demand that our leaders work for our protection before they work for the financial benefit of corporations. Hopefully, our City Council will have more integrity than the Task Force, and will take into consideration the potential for great loss of human life if drilling is allowed in floodplains resulting in a catastrophic failure of a flood control device.
Marc W. McCord
We only have one environment. When we destroy it we will become as extinct as the dinosaurs!


About Kim Triolo Feil

Since TX Statute 253.005 forbids drilling in heavily settled municipalities, I unsuccessfully ran for City Council Seat to try to enforce this. Since Urban Drilling, our drinking water has almost tripled for TTHM's. Before moving to Arlington in 1990, I lived in Norco’s “cancer alley”, a refinery town. It was only after Urban Drilling in Arlington did I start having health effects. After our drill site was established closest to my home, the chronic nosebleeds started. I know there are more canaries here in Arlington having reactions to our industrialized airshed (we have 55-60 padsites of gas wells). Come forward and report to me those having health issues especially if you live to the north/northwest of a drill site so I can map your health effects on this blog. My youtube account is KimFeilGood. FAIR USE NOTICE: THIS SITE MAY CONTAIN COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL THE USE OF WHICH HAS NOT ALWAYS BEEN SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY THE COPYRIGHT OWNER. MATERIAL FROM DIVERSE AND SOMETIMES TEMPORARY SOURCES IS BEING MADE AVAILABLE IN A PERMANENT UNIFIED MANNER, AS PART OF AN EFFORT TO ADVANCE UNDERSTANDING OF THE SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES ASSOCIATED WITH EMINENT DOMAIN AND THE PRIVATIZATION OF PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE (AMONG OTHER THINGS). IT IS BELIEVED THAT THIS IS A 'FAIR USE' OF THE INFORMATION AS ALLOWED UNDER SECTION 107 OF THE US COPYRIGHT LAW. IN ACCORDANCE WITH TITLE 17 USC SECTION 107, THE SITE IS MAINTAINED WITHOUT PROFIT FOR THOSE WHO ACCESS IT FOR RESEARCH AND EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES. FOR MORE INFORMATION, SEE: HTTP://WWW.LAW.CORNELL.EDU/ TO USE MATERIAL REPRODUCED ON THIS SITE FOR PURPOSES THAT GO BEYOND 'FAIR USE', PERMISSION IS REQUIRED FROM THE COPYRIGHT OWNER INDICATED WITH A NAME AND INTERNET LINK AT THE END OF EACH ITEM. (NOTE: THE TEXT OF THIS NOTICE WAS ALSO LIFTED FROM CORRIDORNEWS.BLOGSPOT.COM)
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