FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The City of Fort Worth is enforcing new rules for operators hunting down natural gas deposits in the city.
The rules come following a month of complaints from residents, surprised to find cables and boxes strung through their front yards, and large trucks sending vibrations through the city’s east side.
Seismic testing operators have to have a street-use permit from the city. But now those permits will require operators to notify residents before testing starts.
They will also have to provide contact numbers and emails, and stop operating on Sundays and holidays. “We want to make sure that its part of the permit process that they let people know this is going to be happening, and they let the city know this is going to be happening as well,” said city spokesman Jason Lamers.
Resident Don Young, a critic of urban drilling, said the rules address the potential annoyance of the testing but don’t go far enough to address unknown dangers. He is among those who have questioned the impact on home foundations. He also wants to know more about impacts to water lines, which have broken several times in the last month.
City staff has attributed those breaks to dry ground and heavy water use. “Like a lot of things with gas drilling it’s still rather new and there haven’t been proper studies done on it,” Young said.
Resident Ramon Graham though said the testing was not intrusive at all, and questioned the need for more rules. “Let the people do the job they need to do,” he said. “Wouldn’t hurt to drill for some oil either.”
City leaders have been told by staff that the testing is not dangerous, and is similar to seismic testing that happens on a regular basis for roads and utility lines. But councilman Jungus Jordan said the council will not ignore the concerns. “We owe it to the citizens of this great city to insure that it is,” he said. “And you will hear us continue to inquire deeper to make sure that it is safe.”