natural gas 1090181 Arlington Imposing $2,500 Fee On Gas Drilling Companies

A Chesapeake Energy natural gas well site. (credit: AP Photo/Ralph Wilson)

ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Gas companies that drill in Arlington will now have to pay the city a $2,500 fee, per well, every year.

Mayor Robert Cluck said rescuers in the city need to know how to deal with fires and disasters associated with gas wells and the money will go toward properly preparing firefighters.

“It’s gonna go for training and for hiring six additional firefighters who have been specially trained in these types of disasters,” explained the mayor. “They have not been formally trained and I suspect most fire departments have not.”

Arlington Chamber of Commerce President Wes Jurey agreed that public safety is important but said the city should have consulted with gas companies before voting on the fee.

“And find ways so that both the public safety concerns are adequately met and the industry concerns can be discussed and looked at,” Jurey said.

Mayor Cluck said the decision wasn’t difficult.

“We can either tax the taxpayers or put on a fee for the drilling companies and to us it was more fair for them [gas companies] to pay for it since they’re doing the drilling and creating the need for additional training.”

There are some 300 gas wells in the city of Arlington and more on the way.

Mayor Cluck said rescuer’s need to be prepared for any and everything. “For instance, there was a well blow out in west Texas recently and it took about five days to get it down, under control and we might have to do the same thing but at least we’ll know how to do it.”

The new fee will bring in an estimated $781,000 a year.

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