Category Archives: take action

Final Chapter? You’re the Author

This could be it: the final vote on our hard-fought and long-awaited gas drilling ordinance update has been set for December 11th. That means we need you to come testify at City Hall that day, possibly for the last time. Dallas residents and organizations have been working to get this ordinance done for several years – but as close as it seems now, we aren’t at all certain whether it will actually pass! Public participation and testimony has been critical in this effort so far, so please come speak now or forever hold your peace. In the meantime, you can contact your elected officials and urge them to support the new gas ordinance.

December 11th, 2013
Dallas City Council Chambers
1500 Marilla, 75201, 6th Floor
Email Mayor Rawlings here

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, in his own words:“I will never vote to put neighborhoods at risk because of money.”

“There is a place for everything under heaven, and I don’t think the place for drilling is in Dallas.”

“I will be supporting the efforts of our [City Plan Commission] on new gas drilling ordinances, to make sure the standards are such to ensure the safety of our citizens.”

After the last City Council briefing, things have become fairly clear: the outcome will probably boil down to the vote of Mayor Mike Rawlings. Mayor Rawlings has repeatedly and publicly expressed his personal reservations with urban gas drilling, and at the Trinity East permit vote in August he even went so far as to state unequivocally that he would support the work of the City Plan Commission to pass this new ordinance. Whether or not the ordinance actually passes in its current form will come down to whether or not Rawlings does what he said he would do. We think it really is that simple. There are only two other “undecided” council members, and we believe they will follow his lead.

The city attorneys are raising the threat-of-lawsuit red flags, as always. City staff is attempting to steer this conversation back to the 2-year-old, obsolete Gas Drilling Task Force recommendations, as usual. But this is clearly a legacy vote for Mayor Rawlings. It could be the final chapter of what has been a long drama full of crazy twists and turns for years. It’s not just another hearing, just another debate, just another vote – we hope you will come help see this through to the end.

The alternative, should the industry lobbyists prevail, is to go back to weaker, older gas drilling rules as proposed two years ago by the Dallas Gas Drilling Task Force. This bad proposal was strongly opposed by a coalition of environmental, neighborhood and civic groups. The new City Plan Commission ordinance is far better in many important ways, and although it still has major flaws, this same coalition has endorsed its passage. To see the key differences and improvements, see this page.

Dallas residents have won several important victories since this saga began, but this last vote will be the real legacy of all of our work. We can’t overstate its importance. Please help spread the word!



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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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All Eyes on Mayor Rawlings, City Council

So the City Plan Commission decided to toss the live grenade–two gas drilling applications in parklands and floodplains and one gas processing plant / compressor station near the Elm Fork Soccer Complex–back into the lap of Mayor Rawlings and the City Council. The City Plan Commission has told Rawlings and the Council to address the controversial proposals to change the parkland and floodplain ordinances before expecting a decision from them on the actual gas drilling applications. That’s a very good decision. But it means everyone’s attention must turn to Mayor Rawlings and the City Council. Now.

Seriously, email Mayor Rawlings and the Council now, and forward this to a friend.


These folks will decide whether our parks are for chillin' or for drillin'

These folks will decide whether our parks are for chillin’ or for drillin’

When will they hold their vote? Well…..they had scheduled a vote on Jan. 23rd. Then it was Feb. 13th. Not it may be Feb. 27th. Will it change again? We’ll find out soon.

What are they voting on first, exactly? Authorization to allow fracking on city-owned parkland. Sounds like a bad idea, right, so why would we want to do this? That’s a great question for our City Manager, Mary Suhm.

Documents released yesterday evening by the city reveal that Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm signed a side deal with a gas-drilling company five years ago to help the company win drilling rights on city parkland, even though she had assured the City Council and park board that drilling on parkland would be banned.

Whatever this is, it isn’t democracy. Downwinders at Risk has a great summary here. As if that weren’t bad enough, the City Plan Commission may have crossed a legal line to get “reconsideration” vote through. The Dallas Business Journal has the story here. Again, this isn’t how our government is supposed to work for us. That’s why we need you to keep the pressure on City Hall, but turn it on Mayor Rawlings and the City Council. Do you have a relationship with your Council member? Call, email and meet with them to make it crystal clear you don’t want drilling rigs on our public parklands. Tell them you don’t want the city’s tenth largest source of hazardous air pollution to be built next to the city’s largest outdoor recreation area. Now’s your chance. Now’s our chance.


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Stop the Rawlings Refinery

Last December, residents learned that one of the proposed “gas drilling sites” in Northwest Dallas isn’t actually a drilling site at all. It’s a massive gas processing and compressor station facility, really, a gas refinery. The gas company, Trinity East, testified that it will pour 75 tons/year of hazardous pollution into our air. If that’s true, it would be the 10th-largest source of toxic air pollution in all of Dallas. This refinery is being proposed just 600 feet away from the city’s largest outdoor recreation area, the new $38 million Elm Fork Soccer Complex. It’s unbelievable.

This refinery would release toxic chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde and hydrogen sulfide FAR too close to where our children and families play

The “Rawlings Refinery” would release toxic chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde and hydrogen sulfide FAR too close to where our children and families play.

So what can you do about it? For starters, you can email the Dallas City Plan Commission now and tell them what a terrible idea this is. Dallas officials need to hear from residents as often as possible before they vote on this proposal. Next, you can attend the public hearing and testify against this poisonous plan in person:

Thursday, February 7th, 1:30 p.m.
Dallas City Hall, City Council Chambers
1500 Marilla, 6th Floor

The response to this shocking proposal, so far, has been complete silence. Dallas officials are simply denying that it exists, calling it a normal gas drilling operation. The Dallas Morning News seems to think that a plan to build one of the city’s largest polluters next to our new soccer complex isn’t “newsworthy”. Other interested reporters and officials are still talking about this as if it were just another proposed drilling site.

We need you to be the voice of reason. Send your message to the Dallas City Plan Commission, and forward this to a friend. Our kids shouldn’t be able to see a gas refinery from their soccer fields. They shouldn’t have to breathe toxic air pollution. How can something so obvious even be up for debate?

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Filed under City Council debate, take action, too close for comfort

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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If You Care….. Be There

Gas drilling (“fracking”) is the most important and far-reaching environmental issue Dallas has faced in 30 years, and the debate over our new city ordinance will soon reach its conclusion. We need you to come make a statement at this important briefing at City Hall!


Wednesday, August 1st, 1:00PM

Dallas City Hall Briefing Room
1500 Marilla, Room 6ES

This meeting will feature presentations from two speakers: One for environmental and public health protections, the other for drilling near neighborhoods and schools, in parks and along the Trinity River. The stakes are high–we need you to attend, and tell a friend. You can learn more about this important meeting here.

There will be an opportunity for some folks to speak and testify at the briefing if you register ahead of time. Please contact Zac Trahan at Texas Campaign for the Environment, 214-599-7840 or zac(at)texasenvironment(dot)org if you are able to testify in the morning or afternoon session. Speaking slots are limited, so don’t delay!

Perhaps most importantly, we need you to pass this along to friends, neighbors and anyone who might want to attend. The decisions Dallas is facing now will affect all residents for decades to come, and we must take this opportunity to speak with an organized, unified voice. Be there!

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Green Source D/FW profiles our work

Here’s a great article summarizing our work so far at Dallas Residents at Risk. Give it a read!


Last year, when the city of Dallas created a task force to provide recommendations for gas drilling rules in the city, a group of residents and environmentalists kept their eye on developments.

“We had a shadow task force watching what the task force was doing,” said Zac Trahan, program director of Texas Campaign for the Environment’s Dallas office and spokesperson for Dallas Residents at Risk.

The city’s committee finalized their recommendations for a gas drilling ordinance in late February. Those who had been following the proceedings on both sides of the issue had mixed reactions to the results, said Trahan.

“Some of [the recommendations] were very good. Some were too weak,” said Trahan.

In response, the activists regrouped and began holding their own meetings at Trahan’s Dallas office. The result is a watchdog supergroup that includes veteran environmental organizations, such as Downwinders at Risk and the Dallas Sierra Club, along with area neighborhoods associations across the city. They dubbed themselves Dallas Residents at Risk.

We’re still holding strategy session meetings every Tuesday evening at 6 PM here at Texas Campaign for the Environment: 3303 Lee Pkwy #402, 75219. You’re welcome to attend anytime. The next big meeting at City Hall is coming up on Wednesday, August 1st at 1PM, and for this one, we need everyone to come. Here’s the information–if you care, be there!

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July 16, 2012 · 2:52 pm

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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What Can You Do?

Contact the Mayor and all City Council Members

The quickest way you can help is to contact Mayor Rawlings and all the members of the Dallas City Council and urge them to pass a stronger gas drilling ordinance that will protect all Dallas residents. Here’s an easy “email action” link–you can do this right now.

Better still, if you know who your City Council member is you can contact him or her personally to make sure your message gets through. Here’s a link where you can find out who represents you at City Hall. (This is a map of the newly redrawn city council districts–you may be in a different district than you remember.)

The most important idea that we need you to communicate to your City Council member is that Dallas needs a stronger, more effective ordinance to prevent any possible negative effect gas drilling operation might have on residents and businesses. We’ve identified several important ways that the current proposed ordinance falls short of this. You can download this one-page summary here and use it when you call or email your City Council member.

Increase your impact: Speak up, Speak out

Here are some effective ways that anyone can get more deeply involved and help shape a better gas drilling ordinance:

  • Sign up to speak at the “open microphone” public comment period during any Wednesday City Council meeting. You must call and register to do this ahead of time: Click here for instructions to speak at City Council.
  • Call or email your City Council member to request an in-person meeting about the gas drilling ordinance. To do this, you’ll need to know who represents you at City Hall. Click here to find out. We are more than willing to help you request a meeting, of course, and we can also make sure someone from our group goes with you to the meeting so you’re not on your own. Please contact us so we can help: 214-599-7840 or zac at
  • Have your neighborhood group or organization sign on to our “Five Protections” resolution. The more organizations we have supporting this, the more seriously City Council members will take it. Click here to download the resolution. Contact us if your group wants to sign on!

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