Category Archives: drilling in parks

Parks are for Chillin’, not for Drillin’

Thanks to so much work and effort from so many people, and thanks to an incredible coalition of local organizers and community leaders throughout the city, plans to drill on public park land—and to build a mini-gas-refinery next to a huge new soccer complex—are finally, officially dead. As of this moment, there are zero pending gas drilling applications in Dallas. Even better, we’re on our way to getting a strong new gas drilling ordinance that will be the lasting legacy of our involvement in this issue.

Back in December, Mayor Rawlings called a few reporters to his office to tell them what was going to happen with these drilling applications. Here’s how the Dallas Observer put it:

So, does Mike Rawlings think Trinity East is allowed to drill in a floodplain? “They will,” he replied. “That deal was cut. If they drill. That’s a business decision for them,” he said.

Knowing the deal had been un-cut by Dallas residents, Rawlings was absolutely furious at yesterday’s public hearing, treating the crowd of people wishing to testify with utter contempt. First he tried to force us to pick 4-5 people to speak for the other 50, and when we refused, he rudely interrupted and cut off countless speakers, including a 16-year old student who attends a school very near one of the proposed drilling sites. Then he gave a speech in which he claimed to be against allowing any gas drilling in Dallas, but strongly in favor of allowing this drilling because he feared a $100 million lawsuit would follow a denial. We needed 4 votes for denial and we got 6. Well done. Here’s some of the press coverage.

Dallas Observer

Dallas Morning News

KERA News 

CBS News 

ABC News

Dallas Observer

CultureMap Dallas

D Magazine 

Dallas Business Journal

Again, we can’t thank you enough for your contributions and participation, and we’re going to need your continued involvement. After the excitement of this victory wears off, the next stop for this train is the strong new gas drilling ordinance we’ve all been working toward for years. All aboard.

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Vote Officially Rocked

Wow. By the slimmest of margins, the City Plan Commission has rejected the proposed Trinity East gas drilling sites and compressor station for a second time. Although the City Council could still attempt to gather a super-majority vote to overturn this decision, let’s take a moment to enjoy success. Thanks goes out to all participating residents, neighborhood groups, organizers and trouble-makers. Thanks to Irving City Council member Rose Cannaday and all Irving residents who have joined our efforts. City Hall was standing room only on Thursday, and you made an impact. Even one of the most outspoken drilling supporters on the City Plan Commission ended up voting against the proposed compressor station. Again, wow.

Watch the WFAA story here!

Listen to the KERA story here!

Read the Dallas Morning News story here!

Unfortunately, the City Council can still reverse this recommendation—but they need a super-majority vote to do so. Trinity East must think that’s a possibility, because they’ve asked for a vote next month. Read the Dallas Observer story here.

You know what this means: Click here to contact Mayor Rawlings and the City Council now. Keep your eyes out for another scheduled hearing and vote. Be ready to come back to City Hall and give our elected officials the benefit of your testimony. Keep using your voice, it’s made all the difference so far. But it ain’t over till it’s over.

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Rock the Vote

Back in February, the Dallas City Plan Commission delayed their vote on the first three gas drilling applications and asked the City Council to clear the air on whether gas drilling should be allowed on park lands and floodplains. Of course, the City Council has done exactly nothing since then. But the City Plan Commission is scheduled to hold their final vote anyway, on March 21st. To be clear, this is a bad proposal to drill on public park land along the Trinity River—and to build a gas processing facility near the new Elm Fork Soccer Complex, which will be the city’s largest outdoor recreation area. The City Plan Commission voted against this in December, but then agreed to “reconsider” their decision. We need you to attend the public hearing and speak out. You can rock this vote!

Thursday, March 21st, 1:00PM
Dallas City Hall, Flag Room
1500 Marilla St, 6th Floor

Of course, you can also contact the City Plan Commission today and give them a piece of your mind. Texas Campaign for the Environment has an email link here.

What’s at Stake?

These are site plans prepared by Trinity East. In February’s public testimony, they said: “This isn’t a gas processing plant.”

Toxic Air Pollution – Gas drilling and processing facilities constantly release a variety of hazardous chemicals into the air. These include chemicals known to cause cancer as well as those known or linked to causing hormone damage in children. According to the gas company’s own estimates, their processing facility would be the tenth largest source of hazardous air pollution in Dallas.

Land and Water Contamination – Drilling is messy. Drilling in the floodplain is even messier. A University of Texas study released last year concluded there is more of a risk of chemical surface spills from gas and oil fracking than any other kind of drilling. This gas company has already drilled a well along the Trinity River in Irving that had a casing failure beneath our underground aquifers. The company reported that no contamination occurred as a result, but no independent testing was required to verify whether our aquifers are fully protected.

Risk of Accidents and Explosions – Refining equipment, compressor stations, storage tanks and other processing facilities all contribute to a higher risk of serious accidents or explosions. Thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals and highly explosive material can be kept on-site for years.

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Save Our Parks

Action Alert: Public Hearing on Gas Drilling in Dallas Parks

As Mayor Rawlings and the City Council struggle to decide on a new local ordinance that will govern gas drilling in Dallas, the push to drill is threatening our parks: Fracking companies have leased thousands of acres of city-owned parkland, and they want to move forward before the new ordinance is in place.

Does this look like a good place to drill?

The Dallas City Plan Commission is set to vote soon on the first proposed drilling sites! We need you to come, speak up, and help save our parks. Click here to send an email to Mayor Rawlings and the City Council.

Thursday, December 20th, 1:30 p.m.
Dallas City Hall, City Council Chambers, 6th floor
1500 Marilla, Dallas 75201

The first drilling sites up for a vote are adjacent to the proposed Elm Fork Soccer Complex, the newly renovated Luna Vista Golf Course and Elm Fork Shooting Sports. There are also hike and bike trails, horse stables and at least one school nearby. Other areas that have been leased include Crown Park and California Crossing Park.

Drilling in the River Bottom?

Is this a good place for drilling rigs, chemical storage tanks, gas compressors and pipelines?

Not only are these sites in publicly-owned parklands, but two of them are also within the 100-year floodplain. These are sensitive ecological areas, and the current city ordinance does not allow gas drilling within floodplains. This is a good restriction to keep because the combination of a toxic spill or accident and a heavy rain event could result in hazardous chemicals washing into the Trinity River. Flooding could put fracking chemical storage tanks and drilling equipment under water.

Come have your say at the public meeting! If the City Plan Commission votes to approve these drilling permits, they will go to Mayor Rawlings and the City Council for final approval. Clearly, Dallas officials should finish the new city ordinance before moving foward with any drilling. We need you to help protect our parks and the Trinity River for generations to come. Dallas is at an important crossroads, and your voice can make all the difference.

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Don’t Frack Our Fairway

This year the City of Dallas invested $4.8 million in renovations to the L.B. Houston Golf Course, which is on municipal parkland along the Trinity River. The course will be officially re-opened this weekend as “Luna Vista,” with a Friday ribbon cutting ceremony and a Saturday tournament. Here’s an article with pictures of the new course.

Unfortunately, thousands of acres of parklands have been leased for drilling, including three sites at the Luna Vista Golf Course. One is adjacent to the driving range! The City Council is considering an ordinance that could allow gas drilling at Luna Vista and on other parklands. Click here to send a message to Mayor Rawlings and the City Council now: Don’t frack our fairway!

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Don’t Frack My Park Day

This Saturday, October 6th is “It’s My Park Day”: a city-sponsored event happening from 8AM-12PM at all city parks. Hundreds of volunteers have registered to pick up litter, clear trails, celebrate and beautify Dallas’ parks. However, the City Council may soon vote to allow gas drilling on public park lands for the first time!

Dallas has a choice–we can create a world-class park system for future generations to enjoy, or we can create fields of gas wells instead. Click here to send a message to Mayor Rawlings and the City Council now: Don’t frack our parks.

All Areas in Black Hatching Have Been Leased for Gas Drilling

This map produced by City of Dallas staff members shows that huge swaths of park lands have been leased to a company (Trinity East) which uses hydraulic fracturing to drill for natural gas. Most of the land is along the Trinity River, and two city parks in northwest Dallas have been leased to the gas company: Crown Park, home to baseball and soccer fields, and the area of the proposed Elm Fork Athletic Complex. The City Council may vote soon on a new ordinance to govern gas drilling operations within Dallas, and one of the most controversial issues facing Mayor Rawlings and the City Council is whether to allow fracking on park lands for the first time.

Send you message today: Don’t frack our parks!

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Save the Trinity!

A new map produced by the City of Dallas shows that huge swaths of Trinity River park lands, following the waterway from the northwest border of Dallas almost all the way into downtown, has been leased to a company which uses hydraulic fracturing to drill for natural gas. All areas in black hatching on this map have been leased for drilling. We need you to come to City Hall now to help save the Trinity!

If You Care……
Be There

City Council Briefing: Gas Drilling Ordinance
Wednesday, May 16th, 1PM

City Hall Briefing Room: 1500 Marilla, Room 6ES

Just as tensions have flared over a proposed parking lot on park land at Winfrey Point, the City Council will soon vote on a new ordinance to govern gas drilling operations within Dallas. Some of the most controversial items Mayor Rawlings and the City Council will vote on will be whether to allow fracking on vast amounts of park lands along the Trinity River and whether to reverse the current prohibition against drilling inside flood plains. Both measures would be necessary to allow gas company Trinity East to move forward with plans to drill on thousands of acres that it has leased along the river corridor. In addition, two park lands in northwest Dallas have been leased to the gas company: Crown Park, home to baseball and soccer fields, and the area of the proposed Elm Fork Athletic Complex.

Dallas has a choice: We can create a world-class park system for future generations to enjoy, or we can create a river of gas wells instead.

City Council members will receive a briefing from the Gas Drilling Task Force on its final recommendations on May 16th at 1:00 PM in room 6ES at City Hall. We need you to attend to demonstrate your support for protecting the Trinity River and our park lands!

If you haven’t done so already, please email Mayor Rawlings and the City Council now and urge them pass a gas drilling ordinance that will protect Dallas residents and our environment. Also, please forward this message to a friend and share it through social media. Democracy only works when people participate!

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River of Gas Wells?

Here are some great stories that show the danger to the Trinity River and our parklands. Check ’em out!

Dallas parks, bike trails, flood plain leased to gas company

Fox 4: Gas drilling planned along Trinity River

Dallas Morning News: Environmentalists wary of potential natural-gas drilling plans in Dallas

A week before the Dallas City Council takes a step toward deciding how to regulate natural-gas drilling, advocates of tight rules pointed Tuesday to a map that shows parkland and Trinity River flood plains included in a city lease to one gas company.

The inclusion of parkland and environmentally sensitive flood plains in potential drilling plans has set up another round in a two-year fight over how tough the city will be on gas drilling and its industrial accompaniments.

Dallas Observer: Trinity East wants to drill in the floodplain

Texas Campaign for the Environment released a map, provided by City Hall, of where drilling company Trinity East hopes to poke a few holes in the earth, pump in a mystery stew of noxious chemicals and suck out natural gas. You guessed it: The land is almost entirely in the Trinity floodplain, either on or near existing parks or on land intended for possible park development.

As things stand now, drilling isn’t allowed in parks or the floodplain — because it, you know, floods and washes stuff into the river — though that could change.

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Trinity River, Park Lands at Risk

All Areas in Black Hatching Have Been Leased for Gas Drilling

A new map produced by City of Dallas staff members shows that huge swaths of Trinity River park lands, following the waterway from the northwest border of Dallas almost all the way into downtown, has been leased to a company which uses hydraulic fracturing to drill for natural gas. Ironically, the gas company is known as Trinity East.

Just as tensions have flared over a proposed parking lot on park land at Winfrey Point, the City Council will soon vote on a new ordinance to govern gas drilling operations within Dallas. Some of the most controversial items Mayor Rawlings and the City Council will vote on will be whether to allow fracking on vast amounts of park lands along the Trinity River and whether to reverse the city’s current prohibition against drilling inside flood plains. Both measures would be necessary to allow gas company Trinity East to move forward with plans to drill on thousands of acres that it has leased along the river corridor.

Dallas has a choice: We can create a world-class park system for future generations to enjoy, or we can create a river of gas wells instead.

In addition, two park lands in northwest Dallas have been leased to the gas company: Crown Park, home to baseball and soccer fields, and the area of the proposed Elm Fork Athletic Complex. The map released today shows for the first time exactly which areas have been leased to Trinity East. This map only represents the public leases given to one gas drilling company in one part of Dallas. Before the City Council votes on the new ordinance, every Dallas resident should have a right to know where else gas companies plan to start drilling.

After recommending for months to place strict limits on drilling in flood plains and to keep drilling operations at least 1,000 feet away from any park land, the Dallas Gas Drilling Task Force reversed course on both issues in the closing hours of its very last meeting. At the time, drilling proponents pointed to one proposed drilling site near the L.B. Houston golf course as an example—but the new map shows that many more areas are at stake. Gas companies lobbied forcefully for these last-minute changes to the Task Force recommendations.

Mountain Creek Alliance is hosting a community meeting tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Harmony School in southwest Dallas. City Council members will receive a briefing from the Gas Drilling Task Force on its final recommendations on May 16th at 9:00 AM in room 6ES at City Hall. They are expected to vote on a new city ordinance before their summer break.

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