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Fort Worth Residents Find Drilling Too Close For Comfort

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Carolyn Allen sits down for a little bit of afternoon TV.  She says it’s her escape from what’s going on right outside the window.  “They are across the street and there they are,” says Allen,76, “I’ve lived here 30 years. We are all family.”

‘They’ is Chesapeake Energy, who has started work on a drill site right across the street from Allen’s Senior Living Community near Plaza Parkway and I-30 in Fort Worth’s Ridgmar area.

“I’m just waiting for King Kong to come out of that wall,” says Tina Hill, who lives in a nearby apartment.

Allen and her neighbors say along with the drill site they were told they would get a park and duck pond.  “Oh man, we were all so happy we had this nice park across the street, but it doesn’t appear that’s happening,” says Allen.

Linda Traylor and others now wonder how the city of Fort Worth could have let Chesapeake drill so close.  “We were lied to, they didn’t play straight with us,” says Traylor.  “We just feel kind of cheated that they promised us so much and did nothing.”

“They should have not let them do that, that’s wrong, it’s too close,” says Hill.

Hill says she’s learned that tenants don’t really have a voice.

If a well goes up within 600 feet of any property, city ordinance requires property owners to sign a waiver and notify tenants.

“Chesapeake got waivers from all nine of the properties within the 600 feet, so they met the requirements of the ordinance to get the permit,” explains Bill Begley with the city of Fort Worth “The notification is to the property owners that is what we are required to do by law after that it is up to the property owners to notify the tenants or anyone else living on that property.”

Chesapeake has drilled one well so far and has nine more to go.  As for the park and pond, “I really don’t have any idea where that came from, it’s unfortunate there has been some type of miscommunication, but it’s not something that Chesapeake has committed to the community,” explains Leah King, the Senior Director of Public Affairs with Chesapeake.

King says property owners did get bonuses and will also get royalties.

And though Chesapeake says they want to be a good neighbor, the tenants think it’s too late.  “They took one good look at all of us and decided ‘well they are old folks, we’ll tell them what we want, do what we want to,’ which was opposite from what they told us,” says Allen.

CBS 11 tried to reach a number of the property owners to ask if they ever notified their tenants.  So far, none have not returned calls.

The city says if anyone has any concerns about drilling they should call (817) 392-2851.

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