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Grand Prairie City Council Tweaks Drilling Rules

By Jay Gormley, CBS 11 News
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An oil drilling rig is seen on September 29, 2010. (credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

An oil drilling rig is seen on September 29, 2010. (credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

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GRAND PRAIRIE (CBSDFW.COM) – When Cheryl Rios of Grand Prairie looks out her bedroom window, it gives her fits. “It gets louder, not quieter. They do more drilling at night.”

A large gas well sits roughly 500 feet from her house. She says the sound of drilling keeps her up at night. “I’m usually up between midnight and 3:00 am and I’m not ashamed to say, I had to get sleeping pills, because it’s that bad.”

Cheryl and her neighbors in the Grand Peninsula subdivision near Joe Pool Lake realize they can’t get the gas well moved. But the 42-year-old appeared before the Grand Prairie City Council to plead for new restrictions for future wells. “I don’t want anyone to go through what I’m going through. I would not wish this on my worst enemy.”

Currently in Grand Prairie, a gas well must be at least 500 feet from a house. Neighbors thought they had won a small battle when the city council proposed moving it back to a thousand feet. But now the number being considered is 700 feet, or closer with neighborhood approval.

“This ordinance sounds like you’re trying to get some control over an industrial waste site, when you’re talking about my back yard,” says resident Jane Carter.

Chesapeake Energy argues if the new restriction is a thousand feet, Grand Prairie home and business owners will lose $240 Million in lease revenue. Some residents agree and say drilling brings in much-needed revenue.

“I haven’t heard of any accidents in the city of Grand Prairie, yet. I think we’re hearing a lot of hearsay. I don’t see any proof and I think it’s time to roll,” says resident David Callison, who supports the new drilling proposal.

Late Tuesday night the council voted that drilling must be at least 700 feet away from a home with an exception.  If an energy company can get approval from 70 percent of the residents of the neighborhood, they can move within 500 feet of a home.

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