Friday, September 21, 2007

Neighborhoods at Crossroads

If you read the Startlegram this morning, you saw that representatives of the Berkeley Place and Ryan Place neighborhoods say they have come to terms with XTO Energy on a mineral-rights lease.

These neighborhood associations believe the terms incorporate residents' safety and quality-of-life concerns and could become a model for other neighborhoods in the area.

Writes Jim Fuquay: "Principal among the Ryan Place and Berkeley concerns was the drill site. Fort Worth Energy plans to use a site east of Jennings Avenue and north of Page Avenue, in an industrial area, to reach those neighborhoods. The lease specifically excludes the use of a site between Eighth and Stanley avenues, land held by Four Sevens Resources, which leases in the area for Chesapeake."

Also, Bill Conley, the head of the Ryan Place leasing committee, told the S-T that the Ryan Place/Berkeley lease specifies which drill sites may and may not be used, and guarantees that drilling activities must be at least 600 feet from neighborhood properties, a figure that would rise if the city of Fort Worth increases its 600-foot separation rule.

However, what the S-T didn't mention is that according to local attorney Liane Janovsky, the proposed drill site is 4 blocks from Daggett Montessori Elementary, and 6 blocks from Daggett Elementary. Below is part of a letter she wrote to her neighbors:

Needless to say, I’m very disappointed with the outcome, and particularly disappointed that the RPIA Gas Taskforce (of which I was a member) was not briefed or informed about the plan before it was presented and endorsed.

The lease is modeled after the Tanglewood N’hood Assoc lease. Variations with different drill sites are being proposed throughout the 10 Southside neighborhood associations. Berkeley has already proposed a similar lease (drilling at a “secret site” north of I-30, but not on 8th Avenue), and the other Southside neighborhoods will roll out their proposals in the days ahead under the auspices of the “Joint Neighborhood Committee.”

I bring this to you attention so you can be aware that the gauntlet is now down for people to demand (and get) $10,000 / acre signing bonuses. Judging by the standing ovation the RPIA plan got last night, some people are clearly more thrilled with the cash than they are concerned about the risk to the children in nearby schools, high traffic, pipelines, water abuse and safety.

We are at a crossroads. Unless we devote time and money to publicize information about the adverse effects of these lease proposals, then most residents will probably sign the Southside leases with XTO / Fort Worth Energy.

Please contact me if you are interested in helping distribute information to Southside residents about the adverse consequences of signing these leases.

You may contact Ms. Janovsky at:
314 Main Street, Suite 300
Fort Worth, Texas 76102
Phone: 817-332-6800
Fax: 817-332-6810

My own take: don't sign. But you knew that already.


Pete said...

Now I'm really upset at myself for missing that meeting! What about the other 'hoods? Did they REALLY get $10K an acre?

Pete said...

Okay, I just read the article. Very interesting. I may not even be faced with the choice on this, since I haven't gotten any communications from any of the drillers since the first lease. I honestly have no idea if I even own my mineral rights.

Bernie said...

Nobody but Berkeley and RP has announced the 10K/acre deal yet.

And btw, I went over to look at the proposed drill site E of Hemphill, and it may be an industrial area, but there are 6 to 8 homes over there, too. One of them right across the street from the proposed drill site.