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Ponder Pondering 90-Day Drilling Moratorium

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PONDER (CBSDFW.COM) – A North Texas town is looking at a 90-day moratorium on future gas drilling permits. The push comes after some residents started making ‘noise’ in the Denton County town of Ponder.

“We have no rights!  We have no say so,” claims Pattie Pennington, who lives a block and half from the new drill site. “It does worry me a lot.”

Pennington says she didn’t even know about her new neighbor, Devon Energy, until sound barriers went up and equipment started moving in. Now she and others in the area say they deal with nausating fumes and noise all night.

Veronica Kronvall lives a mere 400 feet from the site. “Last Saturday 3 a.m I wake up. Boom. I go back to sleep. Boom. About an hour of this I said ‘forget it I’m up’,” she recalled.

Kronvall and her neighbors had virtually no say, because the current city ordiance doesn’t require public hearings before drilling permits can be approved. It also allows gas wells to be built as close as 300 feet to homes.

Homeowners want to put a stop to new drilling so the council can work on a new ordiance.

“Devon has a reputation of being a good neighbor we have a reputation of doing things right,” says Gilbert Horton with Devon Energy.

The company has 44 existing wells already in Ponder. In a town of about 1,200 people that’s one drill for every 27 people. For some that’s one too many and it’s time to put a stop to it.

“I want it to be quiet I want my neighborhood back,” Pennington said.

A spokesperson with Devon Energy, based in Oklahoma City, tells CBS 11 News that the two wells will be drilled by the end of August.

As for the moratorium no final decision was made Thursday night. City leaders say that’s what they’ll do but they have to have a public hearing about it first.

MORE: Ponder Neighborhood Not Welcoming Gas Drilling

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