Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bernie Makes It Official

Bernie Scheffler officially declares for the District 9 Council seat, and he does so with some strong words for gas drilling companies:

[Fort Worth] is a city at a crossroads, and I believe action must be taken now to preserve that character. Some of the newer corporate citizens in town - namely, the gas drilling companies - are making billions off of Fort Worth. Unfortunately, they do so with little regard for our people or neighborhoods. It’s time someone took a stand against the threat urban gas drilling poses to our homes and our parks.

Along 8th Avenue, drillers plan a well just 300 feet from the nearest home. The city-mandated safe distance is 600 feet, but the drillers continue planning, hoping to get a variance from the city. As a city council member, I will vote against any such variance.

Along the Trinity Trails just across the river from the Colonial Country Club, drillers plan to clear-cut 2.5 acres that is home to some of Fort Worth’s oldest and most beautiful trees. This move could prove environmentally disastrous, and would irreparably damage one of Fort Worth’s finest recreational resources. As a city council member, I will fight tirelessly to keep urban drilling from negatively impacting our quality of life.

To protect our city, we need energetic and forward-looking leadership. We need a candidate who is beholden to the people of Fort Worth, not to special interests.

Sounds good to me, Bernie. Let's get it started.


Pete said...

Gas well drilling is a done deal for the most part. I'm all for maintaining strong restrictions and safeguards to protect our urban neighborhoods.

What I'm MORE interested in is how the City is going to spend the proceeds they're getting from all of this... Sure, gas drilling might be an eyesore, but it's not particularly dangerous to the general public. The revenues from these operations could pay for SO MANY things, like light rail, commuter rail, improving existing parkland, etc.; let's not lose sight of that and let the money just go into putting down more roads and widening the ones we have (which has been proven over and over just causes MORE traffic).

Steve-O said...

Not particularly dangerous, but as people in Forest Hill can tell you, you probably want every inch of that 600-foot setback.

Agreed, it's going to happen. Let's just not all get dollar signs in our eyes and agreed to whatever these companies want. Let's be smart about it.

As to how the money's spent, did anything come out of the meeting at Will Rogers last night? There wasn't word one in the paper.

Pete said...

I agree completely that all the stakeholders need to be involved and informed and that the needs of the citizenry come before the wants of the drillers. 100%, no argument from me at all, and I don't want anyone to read anything to the contrary into anything I post on your or my blog about this issue.

Planning for the revenue is NOT the same as giving up the fight for these other things. The City has already sold their soul, as it were, I'd like to hear more from our candidates and public servants on how they intend to spend that money, and less about how the pittance I get from the drillers will affect MY income/property values/quality of life/etc.

As far as I'm concerned, anyone living in the Fort Worth South area who thinks they're going to get rich from gas wells deserves the dissapointment they're going to feel when they realize that they're not.

Bret Starr said...

Great Blog and great dialogue. Call me na├»ve, but I’m not ready to advance the conversation from “urban gas drilling is bad” to “well, it’s going to happen anyway so what do we do with the money?” I believe that businesses follow the path of least resistance. If it starts to cost them too much money to convince a neighborhood to sign leases – maybe they move on (hey –maybe they don’t, but at least we tried). 200ft, 300ft, 600ft – you can’t put it far enough away from my house to make me happy. Make them fight for every inch. Keep them at bay long enough and who knows what advances may occur in the future that change this issue all together (smarter tools and techniques, or even better sources of energy). My major concern is that there is just no precedent anywhere really for what impact the proposed scale of urban drilling will have on a community like Fort Worth. If you advance the conversation too quickly to “how do we spend the money” people will give up entirely on resisting the unethical business practices of the landmen and the gas companies. Furthermore, I would rather have a person totally opposed to urban gas drilling voting on how any revenues should be spent than a person who supports it. I just feel intuitively that the anti-urban gas drilling person would more closely align with and represent my values.

Anonymous said...

Urban gas wells sounds like something from the wildcat days in Ranger, or present day Houston. Fort Worth Council District 9 continues to usually have the most interesting and thoughtful candidates in Fort Worth Council Races. Even back to the early 70s when Fort Worth began single member districts.

From Out West