Sunday, September 19, 2021

Letter: What can we do that would permanently prevent encroaching gas wells? Build stuff.

On the Flower Mound Town Council agenda last night there was a resolution against the passage of HB40 and SB1165.  These bills would curtail Flower Mound’s ability to regulate gas drilling.  This issue has been a point of contention for over a decade in Flower Mound and our ordinances have made us a target in the state.  If these laws pass, gas drilling will be allowed within approximately 500 feet of homes and businesses.

I’d like to propose that we resolved this issue once and for all.  We can do this very simply.  Instead of being against gas drilling, let’s find something to be in favor of.

What can we do that would permanently prevent encroaching gas wells?  Build stuff.  That’s right, it is that simple, let’s just build some stuff.

People may not know it, but builders and developers like Toll Brothers and Direct Development routinely, completely remove surface access rights from mineral owners in their contracts when they purchase land.   Why do they do this?  Because Toll Brothers and Direct Development know that people don’t want a drill rig 500 feet from their bedroom window and they don’t want to shop 200 feet from a gas well either.

This model has been used all over Flower Mound including at the Sanctuary and at our local Target.

This model is ideal because it works within our capitalistic system and we only need the laws that have been on books since Texas became a state.   All we need to do is be in favor of building quality homes and businesses and capitalism will take care of the rest.

If it means giving a landowner a bit more housing density or a business relief from a few development costs – let’s do it.  The new homes and businesses will make Flower Mound stronger and we won’t be threatened by encroaching gas drilling.

I’m not sure if it is sad or funny all of the time and energy Flower Mound residents have spent fighting against gas drilling.   Too bad they didn’t know all they had to do was be in favor of building stuff.   It is quite ironic that a lot of the people who spend hours fighting drilling are the same people that fight every proposed development in Town.   Maybe in the face of HB40 and SB1165, these residents will finally understand that a fight against new development is really a fight for gas drilling.

The Council did approve the resolution against HB40 and SB1165.  That’s good.we need to get our ducks in a row.  But make no mistake, bills like these are eventually going to pass.   This is Texas folks, – we’re an energy state.  Gas drilling is the backbone of our economy and mineral rights are the highest form of property rights in the state of Texas.  So let’s not hang our hats on a resolution to protect us, because in the long run, it probably won’t.

Let’s limit encroaching gas drilling by using the tools that Flower Mound has total and complete control over – development.  Let’s be in favor building stuff.

Patsy Mizeur
Flower Mound, TX

CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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