Bridlewood Quality of Life Coalition

Flower Mound Oil & Gas Ordinances under Attack by kim0917
15 April 2009, 12:21 pm
Filed under: News, Politics, Quality of Life, Real Estate

At least three Bills being considered by the Texas House of Representatives will take away control from cities, shorten drilling/production setbacks and cause cities to compensate landowners who are unable to access their minerals because of unreasonable regulations.   HB 4441 would give the Texas Railroad Commission exclusive authority over pipelines and drilling/production equipment overpowering city ordinances and zoning.  HB 4654 would empower the Railroad Commission to regulate city oil and gas ordinances.  As reported earlier and today in the Flower Mound Leader, HB 2110 would make municipal oil and gas ordinances liable to lawsuits.  Citizens are asked to write the House Energy Resources Committee and their representatives.


What’s the petition that went around Bridlewood in May? by kim0917

Written by Kim and Paul

In May over 300 residents signed a petition for a special meeting to consider replacement of some or all of the HOA Board, and to give direction to the Board concerning gas drilling.

Our HOA Board spent over $4500 moving toward gas drilling in Bridlewood before they knew what the Homeowners wanted. But the Board never asked, nor has it to date. We find it interesting that our HOA ignored the CC&R section C. – #6 that states “No oil drilling or related activities permitted.” We feel this should have been direction enough for our Board. In addition, if they doubted our intent, they should have called for a meeting or conducted a questionnaire. Only through grassroots causes such as this, and others before us, have our Homeowners been educated and made aware of the improprieties that have and do exist surrounding the potential for gas drilling in Bridlewood.

The background to this issue is summarized in a letter to Reserve residents from Mark Brinkman, President of the Reserve HOA, which noted that there appeared to have been considerable activity by the Bridlewood HOA Board to investigate the possibility of drilling in our development. In addition, the minutes from prior meetings were incomplete and vague, and the Board was not forthcoming with information. Some of the e-mails which raised concerns about the Board have been made available at this link, and further information collected by the Reserve Board, including a timeline, is available here.

Mark Brinkman chaired a meeting at the Amenity Center on May 6th to discuss a petition and update all Bridlewood residents in attendance. At this meeting a petition was introduced and signed by many of the attendees. Further names were collected in the following few days.

The petition signed by Bridlewood Residents was delivered to our HOA Board on the 15th of May. As of today, they have not set a meeting. The Board claims they cannot find a large enough place for such a meeting, but they were comfortable in setting up an “informational” meeting on June 4th at the Golf Club. It is time to stop making excuses and call the “Special Meeting” as requested by the Residents that they serve.

Map of Proposed Drilling Area by kim0917

Many people think that because they live far from the golf course, where they have proposed drilling, that their homes will not be affected.  This map shows otherwise.

Click here to find your house on this map of Bridlewood!

Guest Article from the Ft. Worth Weekly: Gary Hogan by kim0917
Fort Worth Gas Driling Task Force Member Gary Hogan is urging citizens to come to its meeting and voice their opinions about urban gas drilling.  He says that good attendance makes a difference.

Fort Worth is facing one of the most critical debates in many years, one that will affect our city profoundly for decades to come — and I’m afraid that not enough voices are being heard. The issue, of course, is urban gas drilling and all its auxiliary activities and consequences.

For the second time in three years, the city’s Gas Ordinance Task Force has been convened, to try again to create an ordinance that will adequately regulate this activity, which usually is not fit for urban and residential environments. This may be our last opportunity to make any meaningful change in time to protect our homes and neighborhoods. But my increasing concern as a member of this committee is that, once again, the citizens’ influence may be stifled by the limited opportunities for input. If you want to protect our city with strong standards, you are going to have to demand it.

In the last few years, it has become increasingly clear that gas drilling is not just about mineral-lease bonuses and royalties. Every day, new concerns are raised. Every day, more citizens wake up to find a gas well behind their back fence, a pipeline maybe even coming through their fence, a once-quiet road in front of their house turned into a heavy-truck turnpike — and for what? Even the Barnett Shale Educational Commission, sponsored by the industry, has agreed that the average residential lot owner may make only about $13,000 or an average $25 to $50 per month in royalties over the life of a well. And those profits will be reduced by federal taxes, local property taxes, fees to mortgage lenders, potential loss of equity on homes, and — if the lease is not properly done — charges from the industry itself.

Minimizing the impact of gas drilling on our safety and quality of life has been my goal throughout this process. In 2005 and 2006 we worked on the obvious issues of noise and nuisance abatement, well classification, distance setbacks, and public education. Two years later, these same issues are under debate, as this activity continues to encroach on our neighborhoods. And we have learned that there are more serious and continuing problems.

Pipelines will run throughout our city to serve the hundreds if not thousands of urban wells. Companies are now threatening to take property by eminent domain for these hugely disruptive lines. Major compressor stations that are needed to service wells and pipelines and that will operate 24/7 are not being regulated as they should be.

I’m also concerned about the long-term environmental impacts on our city — on what we breathe and our ability to meet federal clean-air goals for the region, already being affected by hundreds of drilling rigs using diesel generators and thousands of trucks to service the wells. I’m worried about our water supply, which could be affected by pollution from drilling byproducts and their disposal — pollution that has already happened many times in rural areas where residents depend on well water.

I worry about the future marketability of homes in neighborhoods heavily affected by drilling. The more wells, the more impact. And don’t think that well drilling means short-term problems for long-term profit. These wells are high-maintenance and require years of activity to keep the gas flowing.

I have spent the last two years speaking to neighborhoods, organizations, and even other cities about the effects I see from this industry. I am dismayed that I still find neighborhoods where people feel helpless when confronted by prospects of leasing activity. Many residents are unaware of potential problems, or have been told that they have no say-so about drilling, or that it is always inevitable. Then I am dismayed by those who organize just for the purpose of obtaining the next record deal, without also insisting on the best protection of their neighborhood.

If you think there should be more public input in this process, call your council representative and say so. Send me e-mails so that I can present your concerns to the task force. And most importantly, come to the meetings. Public hearings have been scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on June 9 and Aug. 11 at city hall, in council chambers. Regular task force meetings will be at 4:30 p.m. on June 23, July 7 and 21, and Aug. 4 and 18, in pre-council chambers (check the city web site for updates). Based on citizen input, another public hearing may be scheduled before we make recommendations to the council, probably in September.

Please do not sit back and let the special interests overrule your voice on this most important issue.

Great turnout! Now spread the word by kim0917

We were encouraged by the great turnout at yesterday’s neighborhood meeting with the HOA to discuss plans for drilling beneath our homes.  Volunteers on behalf of the BQLC were outside to distribute flyers and almost everyone we met was in favor of preserving their quality of life.

Although the turnout was strong, we now need to spread the word to the many neighbors who weren’t in attendance.  We urge anyone upset over the gas drilling plans to please tell your friends and neighbors about the threat to their quality of life.  Tell them that the paltry amount of money they receive from the gas company will never offset the loss to their property value or make up for the dangers posed by having explosive gas lines running beneath their homes.

We need to bring these numbers to the Flower Mound Oil & Gas Board of Appeals, to let them know they can’t just rubber-stamp away our quality of life.  They meet Wednesday, June 11, at 6.30 pm.  Address is 2121 Cross Timbers Rd. in Flower Mound.

It’s OUR neighborhood, it’s OUR quality of life.  Let’s keep it that way!