Dallas Morning News: Drilling near levees may not be a great idea

Here’s a great article from the front page of today’s Dallas Morning News.

Bottom line: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers thinks gas drilling should stay at least 3,000 feet away from any flood control levees, but it’s unclear whether the Dallas City Council agree to put safety first.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is so concerned that natural-gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing might damage its dams and levees that it doesn’t want any wells within 3,000 feet of them. Not so the City of Dallas. Already, it has collected millions of dollars by leasing out possible gas-drilling land that’s slap up against its Dallas Floodway levees — land that would be undrillable if Dallas adopted the corps’ policy.

The Dallas Gas Drilling Task Force recommended to keep fracking at least 1,000 feet away from homes, schools, businesses and hospitals (with the possibility of a 500-foot “variance”), for safety’s sake. Yet they set no distance requirements from the Trinity River levees at all.

Former council member Lois Finkelman, who chaired the gas-drilling task force, said the [levee] topic spurred little discussion. But she added that one task force recommendation should take care of any concerns.

“I think the task force felt they had covered this with respect to the levees when they included the corps in the approval requirement for consideration of any drilling in the floodplain,” Finkelman said.

But as the article points out:

The Corps can only prohibit activities on land its owns….. Dallas owns the levees and the land between them.

So, Dallas City Council members could vote to agree with the Corps and adopt the same policy to keep fracking far away from the Trinity levees. Or they could go along with the task force recommendation and simply punt this issue for someone else to decide. If they don’t hear from you, which choice do you think they’ll make?

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