With the 2011 Town Council election taking place in just over a month, I am reminded of the overwhelming voices of the citizens that elected Northern (me), Filidoro and Lyda – The N.F.L.- last year with an unprecedented 60% of the vote.
We were humbled by your support and took seriously your mandate. We have made great strides in protecting our community, such as:
– Immediately after taking office instituting a moratorium on new gas permits until Flower Mound’s gas ordinance could be reviewed and appropriately modified.
– Naming the Oil and Gas Advisory Board which thoroughly studied our current oil and gas ordinance and the best practices recommended in “Drill-Right Texas” and then provided detailed analysis, innovative solutions, and thoughtful practical advice to Council that we can now use to create what we believe will be the model municipal gas ordinance for not only North Texas, but the Nation.
– Collaborating with state officials to install a permanent air quality monitoring station near our highest concentration of wells.
– Collaborating with federal officials to include Flower Mound in the EPA’s ground water study.
– Spearheading regional municipal efforts to monitor and influence state legislation through resolution, testimony and meetings.
– Increasing staffing to ensure our ordinances are followed and punitive action is taken against the well operator, when ordinances are not followed.
– Engaging air quality experts to conduct ongoing air monitoring throughout town.
I anticipate the new ordinance will be enhanced to incorporate best practices, limit future drilling near homes and schools, and provide protection for our residents’ health and safety. We continue to deal with gas wells that were “grandfathered in” under the old ordinance prior to our institution of the moratorium on new permits when we took office last year. The well on the Hilliard airfield along 2499 in the middle of town is a prime example of this. In a perfect world we would be able to regulate these wells under the new ordinance; however, the law does not allow us to implement ordinance changes retroactively. This is where our own regulation infrastructure is so critical. Self-regulation by drillers means no regulation – which is NOT acceptable in Flower Mound. We may not be able to retroactively change the ordinance but we absolutely can and will monitor and act on drillers who pollute our air, water, and/or land or do not follow our guidelines on noise, traffic, light or aesthetics.
While we have made progress, our work is hardly done. The Council must review and vote on the Oil and Gas Advisory Board’s recommendations. The state regulatory environment continues to concern us as we see state representatives considering laws, at the urging of drillers, that usurp local municipal authority. We know the progress we have made can easily be reversed by a Town Council with a majority of members who are more empathetic to the wishes of drillers than of residents we are elected to represent.
It is important that we re-elect Tom Hayden, who has been critical to the successes I described above. We also must ensure the two individuals who occupy the open Council seats are individuals that will strive to continue moving Flower Mound in a new direction and have the skills, temperament, and dedication to work toward practical solutions.
In this upcoming race, I join Councilman Filidoro and Councilman Lyda, in supporting:
Jeff Whittaker for Place #1 Jeff’s website
Mark Wise for Place #3 Mark’s Website
Tom Hayden for Place #5
Without you, the progress we have made would not have been possible. We now need your support for Whittaker, Wise and Hayden, to continue this progress in 2011 and beyond. Please be sure to vote.
Early Voting: May 2 – 10, 2011
Election Day : May 14, 2011
Voting Location: Police and Courts Building
Mayor Melissa Northern
Flower Mound, TX