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.
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?
Here’s an excellent story about the grassroots organizing that’s happening right now to pass a strong gas drilling ordinance in Dallas. Many thanks to Phyllis Guest and Raymond Crawford for the work they are doing to protect all Dallas residents! Check out the video:
At the end of the story, the gas drilling industry claims “there are no studies justifying a 1,000-foot setback”. This is, of course, not true at all. Just last month this study from the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado showed that “people living within a half-mile of oil- and gas-well fracking operations were exposed to air pollutants five times above a federal hazard standard,” and “both non-cancer and cancer risks increase for residents living within a half-mile of wells.” For those who may have forgotten, a half-mile is over 2,500 feet!
Here in the Metroplex, this article from today’s Dallas Morning News explains that “the results of three air samples taken in Collyville on three days in February 2012 at distances from the well of about 1,100 feet, 1,500 feet and 1,700 feet…. A lab identified 13 chemicals and tentatively identified 13 more.” The story goes on to say that six of these chemicals exceeded the state hazard levels for long-term exposure.
It’s perfectly clear to residents that Dallas’ current proposal to allow drilling within 500 feet of our homes, businesses, schools, parks and places of worship is unacceptable. Even the recommendation of 1,00 feet is not enough protection. Now we need Mayor Rawlings and Dallas City Council members to see through the false claims of the gas drilling industry and agree to protect beneficial economic development and quality of life.
Here’s an article (subscriber service required) about a huge rental development planned for northwest Dallas, “Cypress Waters,” which could end up becoming the largest rental community in North Texas:
Developer Billingsley Co. has started construction on the 1,000-acre development, with the first 673 apartments expected to be ready by early 2013. Eventually, thousands of residences, mostly apartments, will be built on the north side of LBJ Freeway facing North Lake.
“We have the potential to build 10,000 units here, so we needed to start this project in a major way,” developer Lucy Billingsley said. “Our hope and dream is we build a master-planned rental living community.”
So what’s missing from this story? Natural gas company Luminant Energy has already obtained a permit to begin construction on six fracking well sites literally on the same site as the development.
This is the plan: Drill adjacent to residents and schools
This is, of course, a story of huge contradictions. Do renters deserve clean air, or should they live with gas drilling pollution that could affect their health and well-being? Will residents have the right to know about fracking wells hidden in this giant development, or will that be left out of the conversation just like it was in today’s article? The new gas drilling ordinance could protect all Dallas residents from the risks of fracking — or it could leave some to fend for themselves.
Update: the DMN City Hall Blog now has a post discussing this intersection of industrial and residential development.