ARLINGTON (KRLD) – In a story first heard on KRLD NewsRadio 1080, the City of Arlington is named in a lawsuit filed by two oil and natural gas industry groups.

The suit centers on the City Council’s recent change of city fire code that imposes a $2,400 fee on every oil and gas well operating in the city.

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Justin Furnace, president of the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO), said the new tax is unlawful.

“They have elected to pass an unconstitutional tax which is discriminatory by nature,” he said. “Unconstitutional taxes can’t stand to be unchallenged.”

According to Furnace, the City of Arlington already imposes the highest fees for oil and natural gas operations in North Texas and the new fee is as much as seven times higher than any other city permit fees for similar businesses.

In March, Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck said money generated from the fee was for a very specific purpose.

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

The Texas Oil & Gas Association (TXOGA) has joined TIPRO in the suit. Both groups say it’s true that additional fire training may be necessary, that’s why they have provisions for it.

“It’s simply unnecessary right now to move forward with this, because any training that is needed is provided and will be provided free of charge,” Furnace said.
There are some 300 gas wells in the city of Arlington and more being built.

It’s estimated the new fee would bring in an estimated $781,000 a year.

The lawsuit filed Monday morning in Tarrant County.

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