Get the frack out of here

Dallas rejects fracking and natural gas drilling on parklands yet again

Dallas rejects fracking and natural gas drilling yet again

Dallas fracking hearing
Commissioner Better Cullbreath was none to pleased with the attitude of those opposed to tracking. Photo by Claire St. Amant
Dallas fracking hearing
Trinity East Energy CEO Tom Blanton pleads his case to the City Plan Commission. Photo by Claire St. Amant
Dallas fracking hearing
More than 50 people spoke in opposition to the gas drilling permits. Photo by Claire St. Amant
Dallas fracking hearing
Dallas fracking hearing
Dallas fracking hearing

For the second time in three months, the Dallas City Plan Commission has denied gas drilling permits to Trinity East Energy. The March 21 decision was handed down in three separate votes, all of which narrowly passed. 

In December, the commission denied Trinity East's request to drill in L.B. Houston Park, which is a parkland and in the flood plain. But on January 10, the commission voted to reconsider the permits, which resulted in the March 21 hearing. 

Dallas currently has city ordinances that prohibit drilling in parklands and in the flood plain. The Dallas City Council has the power to amend those ordinances but, to date, has neglected to do so.

"It's not over, not by a long shot," says Zac Trahan of Texas Campaign for the Environment.

The debate lasted four hours, with more than 50 people speaking in opposition to the permits. Speakers ran the gamut from young professionals to retirees, and Irving council member Rose Cannaday even chimed in.

A handful of people voiced support for gas drilling, but, in the end, the majority ruled. Of course, the decision could still be overturned by a super majority in the City Council.

"It's not over, not by a long shot," says Zac Trahan of Texas Campaign for the Environment. 

The issue sharply divided city staff. Commissioner Paul Ridley called the gas drilling facility an “unsuitable neighbor” for a “wild and untouched urban preserve,” but commissioner Betty Cullbreath defended Trinity East's plans. 

"They didn’t come here as vultures," Cullbreath said. "They responded to a request for a proposal, as businesspeople do." 

Trinity East won the rights to purchase Dallas land in 2008. Before the vote, CEO Tom Blanton urged the commission to reverse its previous denial. 

"I would ask you to ignore ideology, and I would request you to replace it with common sense," Blanton said. 

After a motion to delay the vote until June failed, commissioner Ridley successfully initiated three motions to deny each individual gas drilling permit. 

"The second time is even sweeter," Trahan said of the denial. "It's a huge victory for residents of Dallas and Irving." 

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