The question was “What changes, if any, would you make to existing city policies dealing with natural gas drilling? Is the city doing enough to ensure the safety and protect the interests of its residents?”
Mike Becknal: I believe that overall, the city of Arlington has done a good job in dealing with natural gas drilling. I would personally like to see that every future well, including those at existing sites be approved by the City Council with an opportunity for proponents/opponents to voice their concerns.
Ben Franklin Bruce: There were several ordinances and code updates that were required to accommodate natural gas drilling within Arlington’s city limits and ensure that it was safe and had a minimal impact on preexisting businesses and neighborhoods as well as citizens and their homes. I believe that there are now adequate safeguards with respect to health and safety, noise and environmental considerations. It should be noted that air quality sampling now in the Barnett Shale is more intensive than it is in the Houston ship Channel and noise monitoring is being done in several pad sites around the City. I don’t think additional regulations will be required unless something unforeseen arises.
Charlie Parker: Arlington has city ordinances concerning drilling. Most sites must be 600 ft from drill head to a residence. Only if 75% of the occupants sign a waiver can a well be drilled closer. Each well site has its own set of circumstances and each site must be evaluated on its own merits. I have spoken in favor of the Titan drill site, however I find drilling on certain sites unacceptable. For instance, the site at Bowen and Division is 87 ft from Jean Stephens back wall. I find this unacceptable. It is imperative that the city council maintain its consistency and abide by its own ordinances.
Cliff Richardson: The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
Ron F. Smith: I believe they are with the new safety proceedures implemented through the AFD. I think we have enough regulation and associated fees imposed on the gas drillers.
William “Bill'” Verkest: The following parameters are necessary in addressing natural gas well drilling issues: a. Assurances from an independent third party that well development and production are not a health hazard. b. Recognition that property owners have the right to benefit from owned minerals and, therefore, from well production. c. Demonstrated compliance with a strong city ordinance that ensures the highest levels of protection for the public at-large. d. Drilling company measures that show competency, exceed compliance expectations, and provide added value to the community.
Carl Warren: I support gas drilling. It has been a great source of revenue for the city and hopefully allows us to reduce the tax burden on our citizens. The revenue we receive from gas drilling can also be used to improve our city’s infrastructure. But while I support drilling, if elected, I would like to put in place an independent safety inspections committee that reports directly to the city council, to make sure that safety guidelines are followed.
Kim Feil: The city is not doing enough and was heavily influenced by the drillers input on developing our updated Gas Drilling Ordinance. One of those recommendations that was added to our ordinance was to administratively approve NEW gas wells on EXISTING padsites (no more public input allowed). I’ve heard council refer to frac ponds as a water amenity which I’ve seen the drillers label on their feedback communications. Here are some GAPS that I blogged about months ago ……
1) Mandate electric drilling rig in urban areas, (have back up dieseal power generation)
2) Use closed mud containers
3) Use electric compressors and generators to frack with (if technology doesn’t exist-wait)
4) Have aerial water spray mist for flying frack sand
5) No diesel truck idling (goal is LNG fleets)
6) Have initial flowback fluids go into closed containers (no open tank or well bore venting at any life cycle phase of the well… if technology doesn’t exist-wait). Flowing into a closed container would logically entail negative pressure tanks with scrubbers. Otherwise flowback into Green Completion separators immediately-not later when the gas is detected.
7) Need 24 hour hotline to TCEQ and City Gas Well Inspectors. Our city website’s online status report is too vague. (ex. currently it can say “workover” and no real information of what that entails. Breathers do not need to be downwind to pre-production and maintenance activities. They need to know that they are risking their health. It’s time for the truth.
8) Equip First Responders with sensitive BTEX detection equipment and fast track training them to manually shut in a well. (I know of 4 auto shut in failures so far)
9) Simulate neighborhood evacuation plan and robo calling run through
10) Flood waters should be LAB tested for Drilling Mud, Frack Chemicals, Produced Water and Maintenance Chemicals before being released
11) Drill a Ground Water Woodbine Aquifer Monitoring Well with daily charting during stimulation
12) Baseline Air, Soil, and Surface Water testing should be required with post production re-testing to make comparison analysis
13) Nitro Lifts or any other well maintenance will NOT vent an open well or it’s chemical treatments to the atmosphere
14) Do not permit new wells which gives drillers Force Majeure until natural gas prices go up so as to not mismanage minerals by negatively affecting the first year of royalty payments due to the hyperbolic production decline curve which averages to be a 5% per month Barnett Shale decline rate.
15) Do not use any drilling waste to de-ice roads and mudfarming must be tested to be non-toxic.
16) Do not use onsite, raw, unprocessed, “production gas” to power onsite compressors or engines
17) Have back up dieseal generators for electric compressor stations so power loss will not affect individual drill sites like the emission events at two drill sites last April.
19) Use vapor recovery down the piping during frac stages
20) Replace high bleed pneumatics with low to no bleed pneumatics
21) Prohibit large, line gas fired compressors
22) Use blow out preventor between the drill and the frack stage in case flooding occurs.
I spoke to council a couple of meetings ago to tell them that the city website needed improving. For example, they fail to mention that 25,000 to 50,000 gallons of chemicals are used in fracturing fluids per well. They need to not advertise links to Oil and Gas Associations. They need to add the compressor station to the list of facilites they inspect, and most importantly, they need to educate the public on the website how to proceed in the event of an emergency…ie don’t start a car or use a cell phone, get upwind of effluents, have respirator for each family member, and other informative information.
The bigger picture is this….aside from the surface equipment spewing BTEX, the shale economics won’t work, minus well spend money on sustainable fuels….forget the 100 year supply fable….as these fossil fuels only have 12-25 years depending on how much conversion to natural gas we have…the more demand for NG, the less years we have … Listen to the Arthur E Berman P.E. audio on the Kunstler Cast #192 called “Magical Thinking & Fracking” http://kunstlercast.com/shows/kunstlercast-192-arthur-e-berman-petroleum-geologist.html
I’m glad this Votersguide saved the drilling question last….I hope I’ve made a good impression at least in this department 😉
Sheri Capehart: The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline
Darrell Castillo: District Two is hampered by the anti-private property rights attitude of the incumbant. Her repeated sabotage in making America energy independent manifests itself in her votes against environmentally friendly drilling projects which hurts the City of Arlington’s business development and increasing tax base opportunities.
Jimmy Bennett: Through very deligent work over the past few years, Arlington has become a leader in dealing with this issue by being thorough and proactive. Surrounding cities look to us as the example in many ways. The Barnet Shale has provided many with financial relief, jobs for workers, and prospects for a brighter future. Through the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation, the community has benefited in additional ways as well. But this also comes with a heavy duty for both the industry as well as the city to make sure that we have put in place all the necessary safety precautions. We should continually monitor the effectiveness of our ordinances, responses by the industry, and effect on the community to insure that any necessary changes are made. To date, I am reasonably pleased that in most cases, we have found the balance between opportunity and responsibility.
Jerry Pikulinski: We need to form new partnerships with gas drillers to ensure that the safest and most effective drilling technology is used in our city. We need to protect against wholesale “flipping” of well sites to avoid new ownership that is less responsible.
Phillip Benge: I would remove the most recent fee assesed per well on an annual basis. The interests of the residents would be better served by allowing these millions of dollars to enter the economy of Arlington. I believe that safety is being handled well and that the interests of the residents could be addressed better if the industry representatives were allowed a seat at the discussion table instead of being shut out entirely.
Robert P. Shepard: Unfortunately, cities are very limited in the role that they can take in regulating oil and gas drilling, which is preempted by state law. However, the City of Arlington has recently revised the gas well drilling ordinance to improve the process of gas well drilling in Arlington and enacted ordinances improving the public safety preparedness for gas wells in Arlington. I believe that Arlington is doing, and will continue to do, everything legally permitted by state law to ensure the safety, and protect the interests, of its citizens.
David Edward Berg: We need to be listening and watching very carefully at all wells near and far and demand that they be safe for all concerned.
Faith Jimmie Chatham: The city is not doing enough to ensure the safety and the protection of its residents. Changes to the Gas Drilling ordinance in Dec. 2011 were a positive start, but permitting more wells, without consideratingt the cumulative impact of emissions from the existing wells and other industries, is a pattern which must stop. The city (and state) should require all land men to be licensed and certified by an independent agency which requires adherence to a code of ethics similar to that of real estate agents.
Pipeline construction sites and compression stations should be fenced and guarded. Gas drilling is financial expediency rather than facing the long term financial needs of this city and its residents. All natural gas wells, storage facilities and compression stations should be required to utilize vapor recovery systems, green completion and industry best practices to minimize air pollution and water contamination.
The cumulative impact of permitted VOCs of gas wells, natural gas pipelines and compression stations already permitted and pressure on limited water resources must be considered before we issue more permits. Signing bonuses are a one-time shot and the drop in property values offsets any gains we get from royalty and signing bonuses.
Charla Hawkes-Vinyard: I had a small part in the recent change that were initiated by the council, after recommendations by Arlington’s Planning and Zoning Commission studies were presented. This is a dynamic field and as it develops, changes will, most likely, continue to be made.
There are risks to everything and careful attention should be paid to the issues of urban gas drilling. Preparation of emergency and first responders should be in place at all times. With the study I have done, I believe the risks have been managed and the benefits of natural gas resources and the economic benefit to our citizens compensate for the gathering of this natural resource.