Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Wondering About the Trinity Trees

It is said the Lord moves in mysterious ways. So too does Fort Worth City government.

Case in point: the Trinity Trees.

As you have probably heard, the City of Fort Worth approved the drilling permit for the Trinity Trees site yesterday. What I think everyone is wondering is this: is it a done deal? Is the drilling going to happen?
That I don't know. Fort Worth State Rep. Lon Burnham says it's not over. I'm sure someone, somewhere -- for better or worse -- will file a lawsuit. But at the end of the day, whether or not someone pulls some strings in Austin or revs up their lawyers, Chesapeake Energy has their drilling permit.

But I am curious about a few things:

  • First, because the well is considered a high-impact gas well, Chesapeake had to secure permission to drill the well from all property owners within 600 feet of the site. Or shall we say all property owner -- The Tarrant Regional Water District. But why didn't that waiver have to go before the Water District board? Why wasn't there a hearing? And why wasn't there an environmental impact study? It's curious. Let me just say this, if NASA worked this efficiently, I would be writing this from Mars.

  • Second, Chesapeake reached an agreement with Union Pacific Corporation to move
    a portion of the drillsite operations support equipment to Union Pacific’s Davidson Rail Yard during drilling operations. By doing so, Chesapeake will be able to reduce the amount of the drillsite that will be located on its Trinity Trails property from 2.5 acres to 1.4 acres. Chesapeake is also announcing a $500,000 commitment over five years to fund the purchase and planting of new trees in the City of Fort Worth. I'm wondering how that happened. Does it have anything to do with Wendy Davis' long-awaited meeting with Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon last Friday?

  • Third, I wonder if this deal has to do more about Trinity Trees or the City revisiting the gas drilling ordinance? Is this some kind of quid pro quo, as in "Here are some trees and a couple of hundred grand, but don't jack with us on the gas drilling ordinance?" We, the average citizens of Fort Worth, may never know. But I'm going to keep an eye on how the city revisits the gas drilling ordinance. I'm just wondering.


    pete g said...

    I am surprised to see that the Star Telegram didn't report the voting on this. Was it unanimous? Who voted for and against? Is there any way to find out?

    Philip Hennen said...

    I suggest people to drive by the gas well site along the south side of I-30 between Riverside and Beach on the old twin drive-in theater site. Then, try to imagine how Chesapeake will manage six wells on 1.4 acres at the Trinity site, even with moving some aspects of the operation to the railroad yard. We must wonder if they will be using the Trinity site as their Public Relations poster-child to keep attention diverted from other neighborhood wells.