Neighbors Not Welcoming Granbury Road Drilling Rig

By Melissa Newton, CBS 11 News

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Health and air quality concerns surrounding gas drilling sites have been a hot topic in the Barnett Shale.  For one group of people in Southwest Fort Worth, their health is already a major concern. Now a gas drilling site has been approved for the parking lot right in front of their dialysis center in the 5100 block of Old Granbury Road.

Michael Trichel has been getting treatments at the Tarrant Dialysis Center for more than two years.  He depends on dialysis three times a week to stay alive. “I have end-stage renal disease, which is kidney failure,” Trichel said, “Most the people who go here are very delicate. This sustains our life.”

“If they don’t do these treatments as prescribed, these patients will die,” said Dr. Ponniah Sankar, who runs the clinic.

The staff and many of the patients are very concerned about a proposed drilling site approved by the City of Fort Worth last Tuesday, which will be within 600 feet of their facility.

The medical group which owns the dialysis practice only leases a space in the Southcliff Center, so they were not consulted by the drilling company, Vantage Energy, Sankar explained.  “The patients will be put into potential hardship with the noise, the dust and the smell so close to their dialysis facility,” the doctor said.

“It would be awful,” said Doris Bonner, who started dialysis at the clinic three months ago. “The noise, the trucks, the drilling.”

“I have cardic problems, kidney failure, diabetes, respiratory problems,” said Doris Hickerson, who also depends on dialysis, “and I think it’s pretty close to us to have to be here three days a week.”

The city council voted to approve a portion of the shopping center as a drill site. Several buildings, which are now vacant, will be demolished.

“We have abided by all of the guidelines set forth in the Fort Worth gas drilling ordinance and will continue to do so.” said Nancy Farrar, a spokesperson for Vantage, “We pride ourselves in trying to go beyond the requirements of city ordinances and the other regulations we are governed by to accomodate our neighbors whenever possible and plan to follow this policy with this drill site as well.”

Those who operate the 24-chair clinic disagree. They attended last Tuesday’s council meeting, but were not allowed to address council members because they did not sign up to speak prior to the meeting.  “We went to the city council and we did not know the procedure,” Sankar said, “so we could not present our grievances to the city council.”

“I guess they weren’t even concerned about our interests or why we were there,” said Hickerson, who went to the meeting “I wish the City would be more concerned about the citizens in Fort Worth.”

“Why the City of Fort Worth gave them the exemptions to let them drill here, I have no idea.” Trichel said.

Dr. Sankar fears the medical facility and its patients will be in danger if the parking lot turns into an industrial site.  “We believe this center can not funcition if this drilling goes ahead,” he explained. ” The center will have to close and as a result, patients will have to travel longer distances to get their dialysis the staff will lose their jobs.”

The center has requested a meeting with Vantage Energy. The company said they will work to address any questions or concerns at that time, said Farrar.


One Comment

  1. rsj says:

    I really don’t understand the point to this story. I am not at all unsympathetic, and NO I do not work for the gas co. I live right up the street from this site & have been involved in this from the beginning in 2008. Personally I would prefer not to have had this at all, or so close to MY house, so I really do understand & sympathize. What I DON’T understand, is why this is all of a sudden an issue for them. There’s no way they haven’t known about this since ’08 like the rest of us, ESPECIALLY since they only lease the property & don’t own it. I’m sorry they weren’t allowed to speak at the City Council meeting, but there were MANY meetings held back when this was being negotiated, where ALL parties involved were invited to give their input. The president of the Wedgwood Square Neighborhood Association organized an alliance of all the NA’s involved in this project, creating the Southwest Fort Worth Alliance. This process took almost two years & resulted in one of the most favorable leases ever negotiated. We stood together until we felt confident the lease met OUR terms, and only then approved it. My point is, there was a LOT of time & opportunity given to have their concerns addressed before now & the recent council meeting. We all might wish this had not come to our area, but it did, & our only choice was to work with it to ensure that we were not ignored or railroaded, which we did. It is really on them if they didn’t prepare for this before now. It’s not fair to present this story as if it was all of a sudden for them. I don’t say this flippantly, & do not suggest that moving will be easy for them or their patients. But the fact is, most of the businesses are already gone, & the only other one still there, Kings Liquor, is prepared to go at the last minute they have to, but they too are already prepared. I DO feel for them, but realistically they’ve known for 3 yrs this was coming, knew they had no recourse as non-owners of the property & should have prepared for this. The real question should be why didn’t the owners of this company didn’t plan accordingly, instead of leaving them there now vulnerable, especially considering the very serious nature of their service? It seems to me THEY are the ones who let their patients down, not the city or the gas company.

  2. Bob Bess says:

    People in the Dallas-FtWordth area need to grow up and learn something of the oil industry. Come to East Texas and I will try to educate you to the best of my ability. We have had drilling rigs in the area sinse the 1930’s and have done many, massive frac jobs in this area. Guess what, the water is still good, the air is alot better than dallas will ever have and the benefits far, far, outweigh any problems that may come will exploration and production. The oil fields of Texas are a whole safer than the streets and hiways.

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