Friday, October 05, 2007

Bernie Scheffler Proposes New Gas Drilling Ordinance for Fort Worth

Bernie Scheffler, the frontrunner in the campaign for Fort Worth City Council District 9, called for a new city ordinance regulating neighborhood gas drilling to ensure the safety of residents, protection of the environment and the highest possible quality of life for citizens of Fort Worth. Bernie is categorically opposed to Urban Gas Drilling. His position on the issue is clearly stated on his campaign Web site and stands in stark opposition to the positions of his opponents, none of whom categorically oppose drilling in our neighborhoods.

“I’ve been very clear on this point from the beginning of my campaign. I categorically oppose drilling for gas in our neighborhoods,” Bernie said. “I believe that neighborhood drilling is unsafe, bad for the environment, bad for quality of life and a poor economic choice.

"Proponents of urban gas drilling would have us believe that bonuses and royalties add up to an economic windfall for the people of Fort Worth. But residents of neighborhoods where drilling has already started will tell you these limited economic incentives are small compared to increases in property taxes and decreases in home value. And the economic issue becomes less important once residents experience the sharp decline in quality of life caused by neighborhood drilling complexes.

"This is a simple equation: energy companies win and the people of Fort Worth lose.”

Bernie's proposes a new city ordinance to virtually eliminate neighborhood gas drilling. A new ordinance, created by a committee comprised of neighborhood residents rather than energy company representatives would create a strong defense against special interests. Mr. Scheffler’s recommendations include:

  • Impose a moratorium on all urban gas drilling until studies have been conducted to determine environmental impact as well as the impact on quality of life and safety in neighborhoods where drilling has already begun.

  • Increase the minimum set back of drill sites to one mile from homes, parks, schools and hospitals, and ban high-impact variances to the set back distance.

  • Permanently ban disposal wells within the city limits.

  • Require special use permits for all wells within the city limits, and require drill sites within 2 miles of a park to be reviewed by the city parks board.

  • Impose strict limitations (and enforce penalties) on construction hours, noise pollution and light pollution.

  • Impose strict limitations (and enforce penalties) on heavy truck traffic within residential areas.

  • Bernie calls on all residents and neighborhood associations to refuse leasing their mineral rights and to support the passage of a new ordinance. “I urge District 9 residents and all citizens of Fort Worth to flatly reject leasing their mineral rights to energy companies. And I challenge my opponents in this race to rethink their positions on Urban Gas Drilling and get behind the people rather than the energy companies.

    "Despite what the energy companies say, neighborhood drilling will not improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods. The only people getting rich of the Barnett Shale are energy companies.”

    Way to go, Bernie. Thanks for showing some leadership on this issue. Fort Worth needs it.


    TXsharon said...

    Way to go Bernie!!!

    Don Young said...

    Finally. A candidate who can see beyond the bucks.

    A candidate who will not be Bought Off.

    A candidate my grandchildren would endorse.

    Thank you, Bernie!


    RCM said...

    To bad we all don't live in District 9 so we can vote for Bernie!


    Bret Starr said...

    What I like most about Bernie's proposal is that it shows we have some fight in us. So many people (including the other candidates) take the position that "this is going to happen, we can't do anything about it, so we might as well try to make some money on it." That's not true at all. People working together can change anything. Gas companies have spent a lot of money on PR. They moved fast to get leases signed before people understood the issues. They spread misinformation and worked hard to create this air of inevitability that hangs over Fort Worth. We'll have to work just as hard to reverse it. Good stuff, Bernie. Good work.

    WK said...
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
    Anton said...

    Thank goodness for Bernie. Now we need to do our part and educate our friends on these issues, so that they don't lease their mineral rights at their first opportunity.

    I recently had a friend tell me how he couldn't wait to get a gas well in his neighborhood, "hurry up and GIVE me a check," he said. When I quickly told him some of the negative aspects a well near his neighborhood could bring, it was all new information to him.

    I'm going to memorize Bernie's statements, that are quoted in this post. His words offer a concise, effective way of educating our friends in Fort Worth of the dangers of hastily jumping on the mineral leasing bandwagon.