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Flower Mound Gas Drilling Myths

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NFL (Northern, Filidoro and Lyda) are running for re-election.  Not much news here.  They are fixated on drawing the discussion back to gas drilling.  No one can blame them for that.  It worked so well for them in 2010.  Also, there is no denying that gas drilling and its related issues will be with Flower Mound for a long time to come. After all, Flower Mound sits on the Barnett Shale.

Limiting the debate to gas drilling as the NFL is attempting to do, is a disservice to Flower Mound residents.  It ignores our need for the quality economic development that will make it possible to improve our sales tax revenues and ease our property tax base burden.  It ignores the need to attract more quality jobs, housing options and desired retail and recreational opportunities.

Still, I don’t blame NFL for trying to focus on gas drilling.  What I have an issue with, is the myths about gas drilling, that they are using to do it.  As someone who has fought to improve the Oil and Gas Ordinance, served on the Oil and Gas Advisory Board, and served on the Oil and Gas Board of Appeals,  I would like to set the record straight on a number of these myths:

Myth #1 – Flower Mound does not have a Centralized Collection Facility (CCF)

False.  Williams has a CCF on Scenic Road.  It was approved in 2008.  No current candidate was involved in the approval of this facility (for details, see page 32 “centralized tank batteries compression facilities” at http://www.flower-mound.com/agenda/oil/oilminutes021308.pdf).  Town Council Members, including Al Filidoro, were informed of the O&G Board of Appeal approval during the 2/1/2008 Council meeting  (See Mayor and Town Council Liaison Reports at http://www.flower-mound.com/agenda/TCarchive/minutes_021808.pdf) . 

Myth #2 – NFL stopped the industrialization of Flower Mound

False.  Twenty-six (26) new gas wells and a new pad site on Hilliard have been approved since the NFL took office.  Gas wells that are put on previously approved pad sites are administratively approved in Flower Mound.

Myth #3 – The Hilliard Field pad site had to be approved

False.  There is room for a legal debate on this issue.  NFL campaigned saying they were not afraid of lawsuits yet allowed the Hilliard Field application to be administratively approved.  The issue is complicated because Hilliard’s final application to the town was submitted just hours before a moratorium was enacted and by controversial issues related to upland habitat destruction and tank battery variances.  A book could be written on the subject.   There is not a simple yes or no answer to this question, but since NFL campaigned on not being afraid of a lawsuit, don’t residents have the right to expect at least the appearance of a fight?

Myth #4 – NFL revoked the CCF and Pipeline Ordinances passed on January 21, 2010 because the ordinances laid the ground work for the industrialization of Flower Mound

False.  The regulatory framework from 1/21/10 was designed to protect Flower Mound from having another CCF approved without public input.  NFL supports this framework and voted in July of 2011 to keep it in the revised Oil and Gas and Pipeline Ordinances.

Myth #5   NFL always works in a transparent manner to protect Flower Mound from industrialization by gas drillers

False.  Just weeks after taking office, residents and at least two council members were given just 72 hours notice that something known as the Williams Settlement was on the agenda for the upcoming council meeting.  This settlement would have allowed Williams to expand their current CCF and revoke the CCF and Pipeline Ordinances passed on 1/21/10 (see Myth 4).  Without question, this settlement would have increased the industrialization of Flower Mound.  Councilman Hayden, seconded by Councilman Dixon, led the council to table this item, effectively killing it.

Gas drilling is and always will be a tough issue for Flower Mound.  Dealing with it honestly is the only way to lead Flower Mound forward.  Deliberately distorting the truth, as NFL and their supporters have done, will only deepen a destructive divide in our Town.

Many residents in Flower Mound want to vote for leaders they believe will best protect Flower Mound from gas drilling issues.  Who those leaders are is not as easy to determine as NFL would like voters to believe.  Before casting your vote, examine the facts and ask yourselves why would NFL not tell you the truth?

Jodie Boutilier
Flower Mound, TX

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