Grand Prairie City Council Tweaks Drilling Rules

By Jay Gormley, CBS 11 News

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.


One Comment

  1. Jane Carter says:

    The real results of last nights vote to accept new ordinance language (that had not been shared with the citizens prior to the meeting), is that by taking ‘any action’ on the issue, the Council, Mayor and City Manager immediately lifted the 6 month moratorium against drilling. They have been meeting with Industry who helped them write the ordinance when they should have utilized outside experts. Now the head of the Parks Department can decide if they want to give a gas company a ‘waiver’ to the rules in the ordinance if they want to drill near or in a city park. They also included a 10 day notice to citizens if they want to waive the setback distance below 500’/700’. If 70% of responders agree, they get the waiver. Ten days is not enough notice – you could be on vacation, in the hospital, out of town on business and not even get a ‘vote’. Also, the City Council can give a waiver in many cases also, with no public hearing. They still want to ‘tweak’ the ordinance further because Industry wants the measurements to be from the well head, not from the edge of the Pad site which may contain 20 wells.

    1. Westchester Neighbor says:

      Jane is right. The real purpose of this hurry-up vote on a “revised” Gas Drilling Ordinance was to find a way to “lift” the Moratorium so that gas operators could move forward with their plans for new pad sites and wells. The gas operators clearly run Grand Prairie’s City Council. It was made crystal clear last night after listening to gas industry comments to the Council. All the schmoozing observed between Chesapeake and City Officials in the hallways was truly disgusting.

  2. Robert McLain says:

    Are they using any sound-barriers around the drilling sites?
    I’ve seen these at sites in Arlington, but can’t remember if I’ve seen them at the Grand Prairie location at Grand Peninsula.

    1. texasdame says:

      Of course they use “sound barriers.” All for show. And they’re really UGLY, too. They don’t want us to see all the horrible equipment while they’re drilling and FRACKING, either.

  3. Nomac supporter says:

    Just another example of the public’s ignorance about the oil industry. These people don’t know what they ate talking about. There are decibel limits imposed on all these sites that are monitered regularly and meet all limits. There is more noise from the aircraft flying overhead than this drill site. There is not ‘more’ noise at night they have maintenance and drilling procedures that can acure at any ‘time’ of day. These drilling sites typically take 10 to 14 days from start to finish, you would think these people are talking abouts months! The man that said he could throw a golf ball and hit the rig… well you’d better go try out for the Rangers if you can throw that far. I’m sick to death of the misinformation perportrated by the public and MEDIA. These are hard working people doing a dangerous job, adding to your local economy and trying to help wean us from Foreign oil! Get over it..,,

    1. TXsharon says:

      Here’s how it really works: The noise absolutely does increase at night so you call and make a report but, by the time someone comes to check, the noise is less. Maybe they dropped some pipe or set a new pipe so it was really loud, woke everyone up. Then it’s just mildly loud for a little while until they drop more pipe or the drill bit hits rock. So, the decibel limits are meaningless unless the noise level is sustained long enough for the authorities to actually catch them.

      The actual drilling might take 14 days but then there is the endless stream of trucks and the fracking that takes another week and workover rigs and endless venting and flaring and the constant stench of chemicals and gas. Then come the headaches, nosebleeds and rashes. Welcome to the neighborhood.

      Then they start drilling on the next well.

      Been there. Done it. Bought the t-shirt.

  4. Nomac supporter says:

    I forgot to add there are noise barriers!!!!

    1. TX Natural Gas Supporter says:

      Sounds like these “non-supporters” do not own the mineral rights and the thought of them not receiving any profit from this nearby well is keeping them up all night. It’s amazing how what money can do to one’s mindset! I have had several wells drilled on my property and for each one drilled never once had a problem sleeping (and I’m a light sleeper). As for the “drilling more at night” comment… drilling continues day & night, no matter what time it is – until the end of the well. If you are approx 500′-700′ away from the rig the sounds walls should deflect the sound waves up /over your dwelling. Buy some mineral rights… and support the natural gas movement – it’s our children’s future! Drill Baby Drill!!!

      1. TXsharon says:

        I am a mineral owner and I am dead certain of two things: 1. if you live close to this padsite, you will deeply regret your words, and 2. Your royalties won’t be enough to take your family out to eat at Whataburger each month.

      2. texasdame says:

        “Natural” Gas Supporter: There is NOTHING “natural” about Shale Gas Drilling. Just stop with all that “Natural” stuff! Shale Gas Drilling is dangerous to our health, welfare and economic future. If this continues, our CHILDREN will have no future. It’s “unnatural,” to first DRILL and then FRAC the Earth below our homes and communities. It’s toxic, it has a lot of unknown side effects and it’s not what the Sarah Palin’s of the world think it is. This whole “campaign” to get people to believe that they must be on board so that we can free ourselves from ‘foreign oil,” well most of our crude oil is purchased from Canada.

        If Canada is some kind of “foreign threat,”..well, I’m not aware of it. Enlighten me.

  5. concerned64 says:

    Chesapeake and Grand Prairie are obviously in cahoots together and I feel really bad for the residents. I think at this point the best thing any of them could do is to contact Windle Turley at Turley Law Firm in Dallas and sue the hell out of them.
    It’s the only thing that will get their attention. Also, there needs to be a organized campaign to bring a lawsuit against the mayor or make sure that he is voted out of office asap.

    1. Marc says:

      There is another option – find an attorney who can obtain a temporary restraining order on the basis that citizen input is not being considered, and halt ALL drilling until such time as backroom deals are dead.

      One other thing that can be done is to mobilize a huge force of angry citizens who demand that their elected officials act in the best interest of the city rather than themselves and a corporation. This cannot be a one-time involvement, but rather must be a constant thorn in their sides. You need a steady stream of e-mails, phone calls, letters and personal visits, attendance at every council or P&Z meeting and a steady diet of local newspaper coverage. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

      Still another effort that was effective before the Dallas City Plan Commission was to force recusal by any member who owns stock in a drilling company or any company associated with it. It is definitely an illegal conflict of interest under both federal and state ethics laws (and possibly your local ethics law) for any elected official to publicly discuss or vote on any matter in which he or she has a vested nterest. This would also apply to your P&Z commissioners.

      1. Nomac supporter says:

        Well have you morons figured out yet, with all the turmoil in Saudi, Libya and catastrophic events while we need to be supporting drilling on a
        American soil.???? Maybe when gas gets so high you need your horse and buggy you’ll be glad to have those ‘ugly’ drilling rigs. Grow up!!

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